As momentum builds toward Major League Soccer’s 26th season in 2021, Sporting Kansas City players and coaches will look to lay the foundations for another successful campaign when preseason training unfolds this month in Arizona.
With newcomers joining familiar faces for the 2021 preseason presented by Children’s Mercy, SportingKC.com has launched the “Sporting Preseason Spotlight” web series to acquaint supporters with the goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards who will help Sporting Kansas City compete for silverware in 2021. To read up on every player and visit the series archive as it expands, head to SportingKC.com/Spotlight.
As one of the brightest teenage prospects in American soccer, Gianluca Busio has developed into a pivotal contributor for Sporting Kansas City at the ripe age of 18. Incredibly enough, the budding youngster already has four MLS seasons under his belt and will look to reach new heights in 2021.
Simply put, Busio has been the most impactful teenager in Sporting history. Capable of playing multiple positions in the midfield and attack, the wunderkind has recorded six goals and six assists in 57 competitive appearances, including 30 starts. He was also a key piece for the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team, starring on the youth international level alongside players such as Gio Reyna of Borussia Dortmund and Sergino Dest of Barcelona.
The 2020 season may have been shortened by the pandemic, but it was Busio’s busiest Sporting campaign to date. He started 18 of 23 appearances in all competitions, tallying two goals and four assists while featuring in all but two games throughout the year. With a career-high 1,275 minutes played in the regular season, Busio eclipsed two-thirds of the available playing time.
With tremendous talent comes expectation, and it would only be fair to expect Busio to take another step forward in 2021. The 18-year-old is likely to log substantial minutes in the midfield, either in an advanced or holding role, and could also end up featuring as a winger. The fact that Sporting has bestowed No. 10 to Busio is a clear indication of his growing status at the club.
According to FBref.com, Busio ranked second among MLS teenagers in 2020 with 2.83 chance-creating actions per 90 minutes played.
He Said It
“There was a guy who was a pretty good player in his day. His name was (Andrea) Pirlo and he played as a deep-lying playmaker. Busio gave us something a little different in the game today. His work ethic, his ability to win balls, he got out of a lot of stuff, he connected to the group—all without a lot of training in that spot. He did a really good job and adjusted to the position very well and was effective.”
Sporting Manager Peter Vermes in the aftermath of Busio’s strong performance as a holding midfielder in a 2-1 win at Minnesota United FC on Aug. 21, 2020.
Did You Know?
Busio has dual citizenship in both the U.S. and Italy. The North Carolina native has spent his entire life living in America, but his father’s side of the family is 100% Italian. Busio is a proclaimed supporter of Serie A club Inter Milan.
On Social Media
If you buy the new kit when it drops and want #10 Busio, I’ll cover the customization price 👀 https://t.co/ybkNHNb2SG— Gianluca Busio (@gbusio13) February 22, 2021