As the next step in aligning the Sporting Kansas City player pathway from the Academy to the first team, Sporting Club has announced that the Swope Park Rangers will become Sporting Kansas City II ahead of the 2020 USL Championship season.
Sporting Kansas City II will be guided by the long-term goals of Sporting’s first team, providing a bridge to the professional level for Sporting Kansas City Academy players. The USL Championship side will also provide opportunities for Sporting’s MLS players on loan.
“With the emergence of Sporting Kansas City II, all members of our player pathway will effectively represent the same club, whether they compete in MLS, the USL or the Academy,” said Sporting Kansas City Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes. “The development of young talent is a crucial part of our organization’s vision, and we are excited about the role Sporting II will continue to play moving forward.”
Under the guidance of head coach and former Sporting midfielder Paulo Nagamura, Sporting’s USL Championship team has seen 15 Sporting KC Academy products take the field in 2019, accounting for almost 40% of the club’s playing time and 53% of its goal scoring. Among them are top scorers Wilson Harris (nine goals) and Felipe Hernandez (eight goals, four assists), with Hernandez notably becoming the 12th Homegrown Player in Sporting history on Aug. 30.
Founded in October 2015 as Sporting’s USL Championship affiliate, the Swope Park Rangers are nearing the conclusion of their fourth season. SPR reached the USL Cup Final as Western Conference champions in 2016 and 2017 before returning to the playoffs last year.
Nagamura’s side will close out the 2019 campaign as the Swope Park Rangers. They will host Birmingham Legion FC tonight at Children’s Mercy Park with kickoff set for 7 p.m. CT. Tickets for the match available at SeatGeek.com or at the stadium’s east box office.