The Swope Park Rangers announced Friday that they have signed Sporting Kansas City Academy midfielder Camilo Benitez. Benitez is the seventh player from Sporting Kansas City’s Academy to sign a full USL contract with the Rangers.
“Camilo is a very good offensive player,” Rangers head coach Paulo Nagamura told The Blue Testament. “He can play out wide or in the middle, he will probably be more effective out wide because of his style of play and how he likes to take on players.”
“There is going to be much more integration between Swope Park and the Academy this year,” Nagamura continued. “We have to continue to develop those young players to reach the first team level. Camilo is a player that we see who has the potential to get there in the future; of course he has to do the work to get there.”
Benitez moved to Charlotte, North Carolina from Ecuador when he was 13 and then to Kansas City to play for Sporting KC Academy for the 2014-15 season.
“It’s been a challenge to reach this level because it’s a process,” Benitez said via press release. “You have to make a lot of sacrifices; you have to leave a lot of stuff that you love. I left my family a long time ago to come here and make it pro - that was my goal - and now that it’s happened, I’m very happy.”
Benitez has practiced with the Rangers quite a bit over the last year so he is a known quantity for Nagamura. He will also be quite familiar with fellow Academy graduates that earned Swope Park contracts, Felipe Hernandez, Kuzain and Will Little as well as Gianluca Busio and Jaylin Lindsey on Sporting Kansas City.
Benitez played in Swope Park’s first preseason game against Rockhurst and performed well.