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Sporting KC to sign Busio as homegrown player

Busio will be the youngest player in MLS and second youngest in MLS history

Thad Bell

Sporting Kansas City will announce today the signing of 15-year-old Gianluca Busio as a homegrown player. The move was first reported by the Kansas City Star and confirmed by sources.

Busio will become the youngest player signed by Sporting Kansas City, eclipsing the previous youngest player Erik Palmer-Brown. EPB as he is known signed with SKC in 2013 when he was just 16.

He will also become the second youngest to ever sign with MLS after Freddy Adu joined D.C. United in 2004 at just 14.

Busio has been one of the standout players in the Sporting KC Academy system, playing for the U-14’s, U-16’s and even U-18’s and performing very well at all levels and helped SKC make the Development Academy playoffs.

Busio received rave reviews at the U-15 CONCACAF Championships where he scored five goals and helped lead the United States to the finals.

When looking at Busio’s abilities it is hard to find where he is lacking at this point. He is quick, can take players 1-on-1 and has a great shot from the run of play and from set pieces. Watching him play observers can see him take over games at times and be the best player on the field even when playing up in age level and internationally.

Busio is probably best suited to play any of the top 3 in Sporting KC’s 4-3-3 but can also play in the attacking midfielder or box-to-box role as well.

The North Carolina native moved to Kansas City to be part of SKC’s academy in 2016 and has stayed with a host family. North Carolina is not allocated as part of any MLS team’s homegrown territory so Busio was free to move to any MLS academy. After a tour of Sporting KC’s facilities and meeting the staff he chose to come to Kansas City to further his soccer career.

As a homegrown player, Busio will be able to still play for the academy where they had already planned on him playing with the older teams to challenge him. He will be eligible to play for Sporting KC or for their USL affiliate Swope Park Rangers.

The Rangers were started in 2016 as a bridge between the academy and the first team and would be a likely place for Busio to get his first professional time. Both SKC manager Peter Vermes and Swope Park head coach Nikola Popovic take great pride in ensuring that the Rangers match the first team model of play. Several SKC Academy graduates play for the Rangers now as they try to work their way to the first team.

Busio is confident, earlier this year while watching Sporting KC play I asked him when we could expect to see him on the field at Children’s Mercy Park for the first team.

The response was short, simple and not lacking confidence and perhaps accurate.

“Next year.”