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.
Homegrown goalkeeper Brooks Thompson has already enjoyed a strong start to his professional career with Sporting Kansas City II in the USL Championship. The 18-year-old enters 2021 on an MLS roster for the first time, and if last season's performances are any indication, this year could mark the start of a long and successful journey for Thompson at the highest level of American soccer.
A native of Floyds Knobs, Indiana, Thompson joined the Sporting KC Academy in the summer of 2018 following a two-year stint with the IMG Academy in Florida. At age 16, he became the youngest professional signing in Sporting KC II history when he inked a USL Championship contract in early 2019.
Thompson is no stranger to competing with Sporting’s first team. He made two preseason appearances for Manager Peter Vermes’ men in 2019 and has trained regularly with the MLS side at Compass Minerals National Performance Center over the last two years.
Thompson led Sporting KC II goalkeepers during the shortened 2020 USL Championship campaign with 26 saves and a 1.17 goals against average in six matches. His save total was the highest among the league’s teenage goalkeepers.
The 6-foot-4 teenager earned his first professional clean sheet last August in a trip to Indy Eleven, saving four shots in a 1-0 win to land USL Championship Team of the Week honors. He collected his second victory of the season by making another four saves in a resolute 2-1 triumph at FC Tulsa on Aug. 29.
Thompson is presently rehabbing an injury and will return to competitive action this summer. Once he does, he will become a solid alternative for Vermes and Sporting KC II head coach Paulo Nagamura.
Thompson exploded for a career-high nine saves in his 2020 debut on July 18 at Indy Eleven, including one that placed second in USL Championship Fans’ Choice Save of the Year voting.
He Said It
“Coming through the (Academy) system has really prepared me to play, especially at Sporting KC, because the tactics are the same from the first team all the way down to the Academy. It’s been a really good learning experience playing (in the USL Championship) before moving up to the highest level.
“(Signing an MLS contract) was really good for me and my family. They were so proud. They’ve sacrificed a lot for me and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. I keep that in mind every day while I’m training and trying to get better.”
Thompson upon signing for Sporting in January.
Did You Know?
Among the 17 Homegrown Players in Sporting history, Thompson is the fourth to emerge from the Academy, sign a USL Championship contract with Sporting KC II, then sign an MLS contract with the first team. The first three players to hit that feat were midfielder Wan Kuzain (2018), midfielder Felipe Hernandez (2019) and forward Wilson Harris (2020).