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Duke returns to Kansas City as Rangers first player signing

Christian Duke was with the Sporting KC Academy and is now an experienced USL player that already knows the Sporting KC style

Duke became a regular on defense for Jimmy Nielsen
Duke became a regular on defense for Jimmy Nielsen
OKC Energy FC

A familiar face returned to Kansas City when the Swope Park Rangers announced their first player signing. As Marc Dos Santos was announced as the first head coach of the Rangers, they also introduced Christian Duke as the first player for the new USL team. Duke is a Sporting KC academy product and was drafted by his hometown team in the first round of the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft.

Duke spent a lot of time on loan to Sporting Kansas City affiliates Orlando City and then Oklahoma City Energy FC. When Sporting KC released the him the Energy were quick to sign him and bring him in full time and he was an instrumental part of the back line that took the Energy to the USL semi-finals in their second year.

"I'm very excited for the opportunity to come back to this first-class organization to continue my development," Duke said via press release. "Being here for two years before has given me tremendous experience and I know what's expected from the coaching staff and club as a whole. Soccer has grown so much in this city and to add another professional team here will only grow the game, I'm really happy to be a part of that and get playing again in front of the best fans."

In many ways, Duke makes a lot of sense for the Rangers to bring in. He has experience with Sporting KC's style and what is expected by head coach Peter Vermes. He also has three years of experience in the USL so he will know what to expect.

Dos Santos will be able to use the versatile Duke in both the midfield as well as outside back. With his experience of being at all levels from the Academy to the first team, Duke will be a good role model for the young Academy players that get time with the Rangers, included Duke's younger brother Cameron.