Sporting Kansas City II has hired former USL Goalkeeper of the Year Mitch Hildebrandt as the team’s goalkeeper coach, the club announced today. Hildebrandt, 31, enjoyed a seven-year playing career, culminating in an MLS Cup prior to his retirement in early 2019.
Born and raised in Michigan, Hildebrandt stayed local for his collegiate career, playing for Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Mich. from 2008-2011. He earned All-Summit League first team honors in 2009 and 2010 before being named to the All-Summit League second team during his senior year in 2011 as he finished his career with 249 saves and 19 clean sheets across 53 matches for the Golden Grizzlies. Hildebrandt also represented the Kalamazoo Outrage and the Michigan Bucks in USL League Two play during his collegiate career.
Hildebrandt’s first stop in the professional game came at Minnesota United from 2012-2015, when the current MLS club was competing in the North American Soccer League (NASL). He made 18 appearances in all competitions across four seasons with Minnesota, winning the 2014 Spring Season championship during his stay.
A move to the USL Championship was on the cards in 2016 as Hildebrandt headed to expansion side FC Cincinnati and quickly established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the league. He made 32 appearances for Cincinnati in all competitions, conceding just 28 goals and recording 11 shutouts on his way to earning Goalkeeper of the Year and USL All-League First Team honors.
Hildebrandt’s legend grew in 2017 as he backstopped Cincinnati during the side’s remarkable run to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinals, including a stunning performance in the Fifth Round against the Chicago Fire where Hildebrandt made three saves to win the penalty shootout for his side following a 0-0 draw against the MLS outfit.
His performances for Cincinnati earned Hildebrandt an MLS contract with Atlanta United FC in 2018, and while he did not make any appearances for the first team, he still earned a winner’s medal following Atlanta’s MLS Cup triumph.
Sporting Kansas City II have also welcomed Isaac Gomez as the club’s new Head Athletic Trainer. Gomez has been promoted from his role with the Sporting KC Academy ahead of the 2020 USL Championship season.