The Swope Park Rangers announced four new additions today. The Rangers have signed Dane Kelly, Johnny Grant, Kris Tyrpak and Zac Lubin for the Rangers' inaugural season. With the signing of Christian Duke earlier, the Rangers have a total of five players under contract.
Kelly is the USL's all-time leading scorer with 42 regular season goals since 2011, all with the Charleston Battery. "This is a step forward for me in terms of what I've done in the USL," Kelly said via press release. "I'm excited to come to KC and I want to pursue an opportunity to make it to the first team with Sporting Kansas City."
"Dane has proven himself in the USL and wants to prove that he's ready for the next step," Swope Park Rangers head coach Marc Dos Santos said via press release. "He's an explosive forward that is always in movement and looking to create space for himself. I believe there is a lot of room for him to improve and become even more dangerous."
Grant, a member of the Canadian Men's National Team has made several appearances for his country including a pair of appearances at Sporting Park in October. "I am really excited about the opportunity to come to Kansas City," Grant said in the press release. "I can't wait for the season to start and begin a new era for the Swope Park Rangers."
"We've followed Jonathan with the youth Canadian teams and believe he has the qualities of a modern full back," Dos Santos said via press release. "Grant is offensive minded, has excellent physical qualities and a great margin of progression. We believe he will grow even more."
Tyrpak, was drafted by Chivas USA in 2014 where he made nine appearances with one goal before Chivas went away. Tyrpak played for Austin in the USL (9 goals) and San Antonio in the NASL in 2015. Coach Dos Santos got a close look at Tyrpak when Dos Santos's Ottawa Fury played San Antonio in October. It looks like Tyrpak can play both center forward and winger.
"The whole Kansas City operation is extremely professional," Tyrpak said in the press release. "I have heard great things about them throughout the years and I was super excited to get the call to come to the new USL team. Hopefully we can add another championship in Kansas City."
"Kris has had fantastic moments with the Austin Aztex and San Antonio Scorpions," Dos Santos said via press release. "He's a fast winger that likes to take defenders on and unbalance the opponent's defensive structure. We are very happy that he's joining us for 2016."
Lubin was the captain for the Tulsa Roughnecks' in their inaugural season where he lead the USL with 4.87 saves per game. Lubin was invited to the Rangers tryouts and impressed coach Dos Santos.
"We knew about Zac before he attended our open tryouts," Dos Santos said in the press release. "He's a goalkeeper with an excellent presence and work ethic. He has the type of mentality and experience that we are looking for in our first season. We are happy that he's joining the club."
"I'm very excited to have signed with the Swope Park Rangers and to play for Marc Dos Santos. He has an energy about him that makes you want to play for him," Lubin said via press release. "And I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to work within the Sporting Kansas City organization. It's one of those clubs you hear about that is absolute class."
No foreign slots used
In the USL, teams are allowed 7 foreign player spots but neither Jamaican Dane Kelly (green card) or Grant as a Canadian will use one of those slots.
Good set of signings for the Rangers (and Sporting Kansas City)
The Rangers now have five players on the roster that fit the pattern for what Dos Santos and assistant technical director Mike Jacobs have said all along. These are all players that can not only compete at the USL level but also have the potential of reaching Sporting KC's first team.
Kelly and Tyrpak give the Rangers an instant scoring punch but are both players that could be called up to Sporting KC in case of injuries or call-ups. The same for Grant, an outside back for Canada that is very well regarded up north and expected to blossom into one of their regular starters. Lubin was a solid starting keeper last year for a not so good Tulsa and should push Sporting KC's keepers in training.