Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio on Wednesday was ranked No. 10 in MLSsoccer.com’s 22 Under 22, an annual series highlighting the best players in Major League Soccer under the age of 22.
A product of the Sporting Kansas City Academy, Busio enjoyed a breakout 2019 campaign highlighted by three goals and one assist in 22 MLS matches. The 17-year-old became the youngest player in MLS history to score in consecutive games, doing so in three straight fixtures from March 30 to April 14, and ended the season with 1,012 minutes played across 26 competitive appearances.
Busio also starred on the international stage, landing Best XI honors at the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship in May after recording five goals and leading the United States to a second-place finish at the tournament. He also represented the U.S. at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil, scoring the team’s lone goal at the competition on Oct. 27.
Born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, Busio joined the Sporting KC Academy in 2016 and signed for Sporting’s first team as a Homegrown Player in August 2017. He made his professional debut for Sporting Kansas City II the following spring and during the latter half of 2018 became the second-youngest player in MLS history to score a goal and record an assist.
After releasing eight editions of the 24 Under 24 series from 2010-2017, MLS transitioned to a younger group of players in 2018 with 22 Under 22. The newest list ranks the top 22 players in MLS under the age of 22 as of the end of the 2019 regular season, which concluded on Oct. 6.
The 2019 list reflects votes submitted by a panel of the following 19 individuals, who ranked eligible players based on their technical ability, tactical IQ, physical attributes and future potential:
- Six anonymous MLS technical staffers
- Two current MLS players
- Seven members of the MLS digital team (Charlie Davies, Matt Doyle and Bobby Warshaw, among others)
- Three members of the MLS Player Department
Busio joins fellow Academy product Jaylin Lindsey (ranked No. 20 in 2018) as players on Sporting’s current roster who have earned 22 Under 22 recognition. Additionally, Busio is the third player in club history to crack the top 10 alongside former forwards Teal Bunbury (No. 5 in 2011) and C.J. Sapong (No. 2 in 2012).
Sporting KC: 22 Under 22 and 24 Under 24 Selections (all-time)
- 2010: Ryan Smith (12), Teal Bunbury (17)
- 2011: Teal Bunbury (5), C.J. Sapong (15)
- 2012: C.J. Sapong (2), Teal Bunbury (20)
- 2013: Oriol Rosell (14)
- 2015: Erik Palmer-Brown (24)
- 2017: Erik Palmer-Brown (17)
- 2018: Jaylin Lindsey (20)
- 2019: Gianluca Busio (10)