Sporting Kansas City shocked and surprised the soccer world (especially St. Louis) when they were awarded the Homegrown player rights on Josh Sargent last week. Sargent of course, is the star of the United States Men’s U-17 club. He has been bagging goals left and right and Sporting KC could sure use a goal scorer.
The reason for the controversy is because Sargent hasn’t spent the requisite time with the SKC Academy but the reason they were allowed to claim him is because he falls within the clubs territory (for SKC that’s all of Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma — which is beautifully shown by The Brotherly Game).
Now just because Sporting KC obtained Sargent’s rights, there is nothing saying he’ll come join the club. He could easily go overseas or just continue his career and wait for college as he doesn’t graduate high school until 2018. Even if he does join, he has to put in time with the SKC Academy or a team like the Swope Park Rangers, which seems somewhat unlikely.
“Sporting Kansas City is still waiting on an answer from U.S. Under-17 standout forward Josh Sargent, who it offered a homegrown player deal to, but if he chooses to pass in favor of a move to Europe, Sporting KC could choose to sign North Carolina forward Zach Wright. The junior forward registered 5 goals and 7 assists for the Tar Heels in 2016.”
Zach Wright is a player that could sign a Homegrown contract at any point. He came up through the SKC Academy and played high school soccer at Blue Valley Northwest. He now plays for the University of North Carolina and is currently a junior.
While both Sargent and Wright are forwards, signing Wright as a replacement for Sargent doesn’t really make sense. Sargent is a center forward. Though the US U-17’s play a 4-3-3 often, Sargent is left all alone up top quite a bit, much like Dom Dwyer with SKC.
Wright, on the other hand, tends to play out wide. While he does score goals (five last season and one as a freshman) he seems to be more of a distributor of the ball. It seems to me the signing of one player shouldn’t be mutually exclusive of signing the other. SKC are always in need of more forwards and he’s so young he likely wouldn’t be used until further down the road.
And if Sargent does end up signing, you’d have to wonder if he’d get a giant Homegrown deal like Jordan Morris did. While I’m sure it wouldn’t be the $225,000 per year that Morris made after time with the senior national team and winning a College Cup with Stanford, it should be sizable.
Regardless of what happens, there should be more news out of Sporting KC after the new year as it appears everyone is on vacation. Maybe they’ll finally make the much rumored Latif Blessing and Gerso Fernandes (and his huge $1.5 million transfer fee) signings official.