Oklahoma City Energy FC and Sporting Kansas City will continue their loan affiliation started in 2014 through the 2017 season, the two clubs announced Friday.
The Energy, led by former Sporting KC captain Jimmy Nielsen as head coach, made their USL Pro debut in 2014 as an expansion team and finished 10th out of 14, five points out of a playoff spot. Christian Duke was a regular player for the Energy on loan from Sporting Kansas City and Jimmy Medranda made some appearances in between the two clubs. Jon Kempin was the starting keeper before being called up to start in place of injured Eric Kronberg and Andy Gruenebaum in August.
2015 will be the first year that Sporting Kansas City will have Oklahoma City as their only affiliate since they split with Orlando City in 2014 and had Orlando City as their only affiliate in 2013. There has been no word on how many players Sporting KC will be required to send to Oklahoma City, but it is likely it will be at least four as per the overall agreement between MLS and USL Pro.
Jimmy Nielsen's head coach contract was also extended through the 2017 season, so the affiliation extension will match that.
What this means for an SKC USL Pro team.
This move seemingly signals a halt on the Sporting KC USL Pro team that has been rumored for a while. While other teams have been making their own USL Pro team that is directly under the club, such as Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and New York Red Bulls, the extension of the affiliation makes it seem like Sporting will not be creating their own team in the next couple of years.