Newcomers Remi Walter and Kendall McIntosh relishing start of 2021 season

As Sporting Kansas City kicks off the club’s 2021 preseason, presented by Children’s Mercy, two newcomers spoke to media today at Compass Minerals National Performance Center. French midfielder Remi Walter brings quality and pedigree after arriving from Europe, while goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh boasts experience of his own—not to mention a fun story about his formative days as a youth soccer player. Remarks from both players are below.


Midfielder Remi Walter

On his introduction to Sporting and his decision to join MLS…

It’s very good because I am so happy to join the club. The club is amazing—the city, too. I am very happy to be here.

I decided to sign here to (for) a new project. I think it’s a very good adventure for me and for my family and my wife. I think the soccer here is very good. The players are good and the structure of the club is amazing.

On the experience he brings to Sporting and how it will help the club’s young players…

It’s important to the young players here (for) me to give my experience. I played in the (youth) national team and I played in France and Turkey. I have seen a lot of things, and I think it’s very important to be a good man with the young players at the club. I hope the best for me and for the young players and for the club.

On his new teammate Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, a fellow Frenchman who also signed for Sporting this offseason…

I know Nicolas because I played against him in France when he played for Toulouse and I played for Nice. I know the player but not personally. It will be very good because he is a good player. We are both French, so for me and him that is good. I think the most important thing is to play (well) for the club and to speak better English. It’s a key for my success here. I try (to learn) more all of the time, every day.

On his style of play and the strength of the team…

I like to play the 6 or the 8 in midfield. I like to go (box to box) and I think I’m a player who organizes the game. I am a technical player, not too physical, but I can give my French touch and my technical touch.

The team is very good and all of the players are at a good level. I think we can be a very good team and win trophies because there are a lot of good players. I hope for this because I wanted to sign here to win trophies, win games and up my level. That is my objective today.

Goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh

On his goalkeeping style…

I think I play in an exciting way. I love to fly around and make saves. I love to be vocal and support the team in attack with possession. How I kind of style myself is a bit after (Spanish goalkeeper) Victor Valdes. I watch a lot of YouTube videos of him and try to emulate him. I think that’s a close example of what I try to do and what I try to be. Hopefully that’s something I can bring to the team and hopefully I can help the team continue to win games.

On how he fits into Sporting’s possession-based style…

I think I fit well into that style. Growing up, that’s kind of how I played in college and how we played stylistically in Portland. I think I’m fairly well versed in the style of play, and it will ultimately be up to me to assimilate myself into the group with my performances and my quality. Peter Vermes and (goalkeeper coach) Alec Dufty have had meetings with me and they’re going to be supportive. They’re going to give me all of the tools I need to be successful, so I think I’m in a really good position here.

On the importance of preseason…

The preseason is imperative for the success of the team moving forward. If you start off on the right foot in preseason and you’re flying, you can take that momentum into the first couple of games and you get more momentum from that. You start winning games and it’s kind of a snowball effect. You end up going on a run when things go well, and I think that’s what we’re looking to do. If I can help that in any way, whether I’m on the field or in a supporting role, I’m here to win and I’m here to compete. Whatever the team needs me to do in that facility, I’m here to do it.

On why he loves to be a goalkeeper…

There are a lot of small moments that really become kind of life changing. There were a few moments in youth soccer where I would make a great save or change the game. Seeing the faces on the other team’s forwards or the other team’s parents being like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that just happened”—that demoralizing feeling—getting to see that as a goalkeeper for me is what it’s all about. That gets me up in the morning and helps me sleep at night. The more I can see that, the better I’ll be doing, the better the team will be doing, the more we’ll be winning and the better things will be.

On how he got into soccer as a young kid…

Initially I was just bad at soccer, so they threw me in goal. I was also kind of a psycho as a little kid, so they kept me in there so that I’d be less of a danger to everyone else. I’ve actually had a pretty unique setup of diverse goalkeeping coaches who have helped me progress significantly. Growing up as a multi-sport athlete also playing baseball and basketball, I was always doing things with my hands. The transition helped me to get where I am as a goalkeeper. Part of it is a mentality but part of it is the set of circumstances you grow up into and the people you end up coming across. I’ve been fortunate to have really excellent goalkeeper coaches and really supportive teammates.

On learning from and working with Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia….

Tim is the goat. It’s an opportunity for me to grow as much as I can behind him and learn as much as I can from him while also being in a position where I know at some point there will be opportunities—whether that’s with the first team or whether that’s where I go down and play with (Sporting KC II). It’s an opportunity for me to lock in mentally and be the goalkeeper that is always prepared to play, regardless of the circumstances. I welcome that challenge and hope that it’s something I can grow into and excel at.

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