The future is bright for 18-year-old Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio—perhaps as bright as any young player in Major League Soccer.
The CIES Football Observatory, a research group based in Switzerland that specializes in statistical analysis, has ranked the most promising young players in the world based on a measure of their minutes played and the level of competition.
Busio is the only MLS player to rank among the top 25 lists for the 2000, 2001 or 2002 age groups. Among players born in 2002, Busio places 25th on a list that is otherwise fully comprised of players based in Europe or South America.
Busio is one of four American players featured within the 2000, 2001 and 2002 age groups, joining FC Barcelona defender Sergino Dest (2000), Borussia Dortmund forward Giovanni Reyna (2002) and Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah (2002). Additionally, Busio is one of only two players listed from 2000-2002 to play for a team in the Concacaf region, alongside Santiago Gimenez (2001) of Liga MX club Cruz Azul.
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
Since signing an MLS contract at age 15 in 2017, Busio has been the most impactful teenager in Sporting history. Capable of playing multiple positions in the midfield and attack, the Sporting KC Academy product has recorded six goals and six assists in 57 competitive appearances, including 30 starts. He was also a key piece for the United States U-17 Men’s National Team in 2019, starring on the youth international level alongside Reyna.
A solid 2020 campaign saw Busio start 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 under Manager Peter Vermes.
Busio has taken Sporting's No. 10 jersey heading into 2021, suggesting that the talented midfielder is ready to play a more integral role than ever before.