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.
Gadi Kinda wasn’t a household name upon his arrival to Major League Soccer one year ago, but it took almost no time for him to make a massive splash as an integral piece of Sporting Kansas City’s midfield. Following an impressive debut campaign that yielded team newcomer of the year honors, the 26-year-old Israeli will be looking to double down as a game-changing playmaker under Manager Peter Vermes.
Kinda spent the first seven and a half seasons of his professional career at FC Ashdod, landing his Israeli Premier League debut as a 17-year-old. He became a regular starter by 2013 and was an integral contributor at the club until his move to Beitar Jerusalem in early 2019. In the year that followed, Kinda established himself as a star in the Israeli Premier League with seven goals and four assists in the 2019-20 season.
On the international stage, Kinda has represented Israel at the U-18, U-19 and U-21 levels. He featured in qualifying matches for the 2013 UEFA European Under-19 Championship as well as the 2015 and 2017 editions of the UEFA Under-21 Championship. Kinda has yet to earn his first cap for the Israeli Men’s National Team but was selected to the senior squad for UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying in 2019. If he continues to perform admirably in a Sporting uniform, a senior team call-up seems inevitable.
Kinda started 16 of 18 regular season appearances, notching six goals and four assists, and was particularly effective in the early and latter stages of the campaign. He was the only MLS player to receive Team of the Week honors in Week 1 and 2—scoring in wins over Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Houston Dynamo FC—before notching two goals and two assists across his final three matches.
Kinda showcased his dazzling technical quality and cleverness over the course of 2020, all while assimilating to an entirely new culture in the United States during a pandemic. Despite those challenges, he managed to have one of the better MLS seasons among league newcomers. All of this suggests that Kinda, now fully assimilated at Sporting, is capable of even greater things in 2021.
Kinda placed sixth among MLS newcomers with 10 combined goals and assists in the 2020 regular season while also creating 26 scoring chances, second-most on the team behind Johnny Russell.
He Said It
“If you love this game and you love positive play, that guy is electrifying to watch.”
Sporting Manager Peter Vermes following Kinda’s MLS debut, a 3-1 win at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Feb. 29, 2020.
Did You Know?
In addition to being the club’s first Ethiopian-born player, Kinda is also the first Israeli to join Sporting. He holds dual citizenship in Ethiopia and Israel.
On Social Media
Supporters can give Kinda a follow on Instagram at @gadikindaa.