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31 for 31: Erik Palmer-Brown finds success abroad

The KC native left for a new challenge in Portugal where he won a title with FC Porto B and even earned a spot on the roster for the senior squad.

MLS: Preseason-Seattle Sounders vs Sporting Kansas City Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Back in February Sporting KC announced 18 year old homegrown player Erik Palmer-Brown had been loaned to FC Porto for the remainder of the 2016 season.

The KC kid started with the Sporting Academy at the age of 13 and the club signed him to a professional contract when he was just 16, making him the youngest signing in club history.

Then as you would expect from a youngster with lofty expectations, he ran into his fair share of troubles. He was given a huge wake up call when he was sent off with a red card in his MLS debut. Over the 14’ and 15’ seasons Palmer-Brown totaled 10 appearances with 6 starts in MLS (plus a CCL and US Open Cup start).

While it was clear he wasn’t quite ready for the speed and physicality of MLS, a pure athleticism and instinct for the game gave hope for his future.

So that is why it seemed the Swope Park Rangers would be a perfect scenario for EPB to get real competitive minutes. We could watch him develop into a stud right before our eyes.

But the player wanted a bigger challenge. Erik made it clear to Vermes his desire to go overseas in the future and he didn’t shy away when an opportunity with the Portuguese powerhouse came around.

His decision to go on the loan deserves a lot of respect. But he would earn more once he actually got on the field.

Palmer-Brown arrived for the second half of FC Porto B’s season and impressed over ten appearances on the way to winning the title in the second division of Portuguese soccer. It was the first time a reserve team had won the title in league history.

Champs! Finally can cut my hair! Campeões! Finalmente posso cortar o cabelo!

A photo posted by erikbrown44 (@erikbrown44) on

Then just last month, he would get his first professional goal against Leicester City U-23’s.

But less than a week ago we got perhaps the most exciting news yet. The 19 year old American international earned a spot on the bench for FC Porto’s senior squad.

It looks like Erik is really happy over there and FC Porto put a lot of value on him as well. His loan was only through the end of this year, so a decision will have to be made before too long.

I would not be surprised to see FC Porto buy Palmer-Brown outright in January when the loan expires. If that happens it would be good for the player, the club, the USMNT and it would be good for the sport as a whole in this country!

Expect some news on this soon....