Sporting KC Academy midfielder bucked the trend Monday. While eleven of his teammates were signing letters of intent to attend some great college programs around the country, David Leichty was signing a pro contract. Leichty is the latest signing by OKC Energy FC of USL PRO.
"I was really focused on going pro all along," Leichty said. "It's what I've wanted to do since I could walk. It just felt right for me to take this step."
"We are very excited for him to be going on to one of our affiliates in Oklahoma City and obviously they are going to be playing the same style that we play here in Kansas City. I think it's a great fit for David and for Jimmy's team. I am excited to see where it goes, hopefully is path is there and someday back here in Kansas City," Sporting Kansas City Academy Director of Coaching Jon Parry said.
"When I heard Jimmy was announced as the head coach I figured it would be a natural fit with the partnership that Sporting had built with them," Leichty noted. "To forego my college experience for a couple different reason but I felt that this would be the next step for me in my soccer career."
"I met with David and his father a couple weeks ago," Parry explained. "We talked about some options and he just really wants to get his pro career started right away. I called Jimmy(Nielsen) and told him that he would like to come down and try out. He was in preseason with Jimmy last year with the first team so he knew him and Jimmy also worked with him with the Academy."
Leichty was the recipient of the 2013 Bob Gansler Award, annually bestowed upon the Academy's most outstanding player. He also appeared in all 18 games for the Sporting KC U-18 Academy team during the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season and has played in three MLS Reserve League matches. Leichty also was on SKC's preseason roster in 2013.
Leichty obviously already knows the Head Coach of Energy FC. Jimmy Nielsen, the 2013 MLS Cup winning and ever popular Sporting KC keeper that retired and quickly moved into coaching. Leichty will also be very familiar with at least a couple more faces in Oklahoma. Nielsen has also signed former teammates Michael Thomas, Kyle Miller and Cyprian Hedrick.
Having teammates and coach that he already knows from training with the first team has to make the transition a little easier. "It's going to help," Leichty admitted. "Having that comfort level when moving to a new team, moving away from home it will help that much more. "
Leichty will be headed to Oklahoma City soon with practices expected to start on February 17th.