The Swope Park Rangers announced today the signing of 19 year old Kevin Oliveira, a midfielder with Benfica B in Portugal. The addition brings the official roster up to 13 players for Marc Dos Santos squad. He will be the fourth player in an international roster spot for the Rangers leaving room for three more per USL rules.
Oliveira is a native of Cape Verde, but moved to Portugal and joined the Benifca Academy in 2010. He was playing with the U-19s for the 2014-2015 season, but was also loaned out to the second tier of Portuguese soccer where he scored once in nine appearances. The kid has an impressive youth career playing in prestigious international tournaments and taking MVP honors. He also appeared three times in the 14-15 UEFA Youth League.
Kevin has yet to join the team as they await his P-1 VISA and International Transfer Certificate, but had comments about the move on the team's website:
"I’m very happy and excited to join the group of players and the club," Oliveira said. "I think I can still grow a lot as a player and I could learn from people like Marc (Dos Santos) and Nikola (Popovic) that know about the culture I’m coming from – it will make my adaptation easier. I’m looking forward to being in Kansas City and joining the Swope Park Rangers."
This does indeed bring into question a couple previous tweets from Robb Heinemann.
Good loan offer in today on a young CM... #we'llC— Robb Heineman (@RobbHeineman) January 19, 2016
That loan turned in to an acquisition...this could be a good one. https://t.co/3Me4UITM1U— Robb Heineman (@RobbHeineman) January 27, 2016
Thad has sources indicating this is THAT signing:
This is definitely a bit underwhelming and plenty of people are going to be upset. But it is too soon to judge. Maybe this kid destroys the league and we see him at CMP this season.
By bringing in young international players to play for the Rangers, Sporting KC now have the ability to develop overseas talent into a product already keen to the way the club operates. It is a means of bringing in foreign talent without using a roster spot or having to pay a big transfer fee for an already established player.
SPR has a full roster with 12 being the minimum for the USL. But they will continue to add players and we can expect to see at least one loan from Sporting KC join them as well. SKC has 3 keepers on the roster, so we will probably see Kempin loaned to Swope Park to finally see regular playing time.
These Rangers are shaping up to be a fun squad to watch with a lot of potential. Vermes and Dos Santos only want players on the roster they believe have at least a shot of contributing to Sporting at some point.
So it will be hot in Swope this summer without the facilities of CMP and the Member's Club, but there will be plenty worth watching from these guys.