The Sporting KC Show Podcast, dropping throughout the season on Sports Radio 810 WHB, is now available on Spotify and iTunes. With Nate Bukaty, Aly Trost and Carter Augustine hosting the weekly program, Sporting fans have a place to go to catch up on club storylines, player achievements, guest interviews and more.
Just about everyone could learn a thing or two from Sporting Kansas City's newly signed midfielder Felipe Hernandez.
Days after becoming the 12th Homegrown Player in club history, the 21-year-old Hernandez joined Sporting KC Show hosts Nate Bukaty, Aly Trost and Carter Augustine to discuss his unprecedented rise through Sporting's professional pathway.
Born in Colombia and raised in Tennessee, Hernandez has become the first Sporting player to progress from an Academy Affiliate to the Academy to the Swope Park Rangers before signing with the first team. He joined the Academy as a 15-year-old in 2014 and diligently worked his way toward an MLS contract, but not before seeing several of his peers receive Homegrown deals before him.
During this time, Hernandez demonstrated unmistakable traits that meshed with Sporting's very DNA. His hard work and perseverance through ups and downs consistently impressed the coaching staff, and Sporting Manager Peter Vermes was quick to point out as much during Hernandez's introductory press conference on Tuesday.
"What I appreciate about him is that there have been a lot of kids in front of him who have signed while he has already been here," Vermes said of Hernandez. "What he didn’t do is what a lot of young players would do: the second they’re faced with a challenge, they fold up shop and they go home. And Felipe never did that. It’s one of the reasons that he is incredibly prepared for the first team. What he didn’t do was fold up shop, and I think that’s big-time."
In an excellent 20-minute segment on the Sporting KC Show, which debuted a new episode Tuesday night on Sports Radio 810 WHB, Hernandez shared his backstory as a youth player in Tennessee, the influence of his Colombian immigrant parents, cutting his teeth in the Academy and building toughness and resilience under Rangers head coach and former Sporting midfielder Paulo Nagamura.
In addition to speaking with Hernandez, Bukaty, Trost and Augustine recapped Sporting's momentous 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo last weekend and looked ahead to Saturday's titanic clash at the Portland Timbers (12-11-4, 40 points). The hosts agreed that the emergence of center back Graham Smith and left back Luis Martins has helped Sporting (10-11-7, 37 points) shore up defensively, and with up to six players missing on international duty this weekend, another strong performance will be needed against the Timbers.
Listen to the full podcast episode below.
Currently five points shy of the seventh and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with six games to go, Sporting will take the field Saturday at 9:30 p.m. CT. Fans can catch the action live from Providence Park on FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest Plus, FOX Sports GO, ESPN 94.5 FM and La Grande 1340 AM. Manager Peter Vermes' men have notched their first three-game winning streak of 2019 and will aim to extend their run at the expense of a Portland outfit that edged Sporting in the 2018 Western Conference Championship.