Sporting Kansas City’s USL Championship team the Swope Park Rangers have had a busy few weeks as they approach their season opening game on March 17th in Reno. We catch you up on the news you may have missed.
Swope Park Signs SuperDraft Pick Riley
Sporting KC’s 2019 second round pick in the SuperDraft, Camden Riley, has signed his first professional contract with the Rangers. Riley played both defensive midfielder and center back throughout preseason with Sporting Kansas City. He’ll look to impress Peter Vermes and company and translate his SPR contract into a SKC contract in the future.
We have more on Riley here, in our first interview with him after he was signed, as well as here, where he talked about being open to signing a b-team contract.
Buried in the story of his signing was this little nugget:
“Midfielder Kamar Marriott and defender Franky Martinez, Sporting’s other two picks in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, are no longer with the club and have pursued other professional opportunities.”
Martinez is a third-round pick, so that’s no surprise. But Marriott was a first round pick (though many pundits said he was chosen too high) and it has to be considered a bit of a disappointment not to see him end up with Sporting KC in some capacity. Going forward, if the SuperDraft continues to exist, it’ll be imperative to see if potential draft picks are willing to join the second team. Especially since it’s likely SKC keep picking towards the back of the draft.
SPR Sign French Winger Colombie
Before the Riley signing was announced, SPR also announced they had added another player in 23-year-old French winger Killian Colombie. Colombie just graduated from Iona College in New York where he had 72 appearances for the school. In that time he racked up 15 goals and six assists.
If those numbers don’t jump off the page at you, note he played for USL League Two (formerly USL PDL) side Albion Hurricanes FC Royals in 2018 as well and scored 10 goals and added five assists over their 14 game season.
Colombie spent time with Paris Saint-Germain’s Academy when he was young and more recently he trained with several top clubs including New York Red Bulls, San Jose Earthquakes and Scottish club Heart of Midlothian (aka Hearts). While on trial with Swope, Colombie started their preseason game against Barton College, which was a 5-0 victory.
The Riley and Colombie signings bring the SPR roster to 13 players. As of now they have zero goalkeepers signed, so they’ll need to add at least one to fill in when Eric Dick and Adrian Zendejas aren’t available for loan. It’s very likely the club will announce their Academy contracts in the near future and then a large chunk of their roster will be filled with SKC players on loan. Below is the full roster as of today.
Swope Park Roster - 2/24/19
|85||Felipe Hernandez||MID||6/8/1998||SKC Academy|
|49||Will Little||MID||4/9/1998||SKC Academy|
|77||Camilo Benitez||FWD||8/16/1999||SKC Academy|
|96||Wilson Harris||FWD||11/28/1999||SKC Academy|
|72||Justin Bilyeu||DEF||2/3/1994||New York Red Bulls (MLS)|
|95||Rassambek Akhmatov||MID||5/31/1996||FC Miami City (USL League Two)|
|91||Ethan Vanacore-Decker||FWD||10/6/1994||North County United (USL League Two)|
|Ayyoub Allach||MID||1/28/1998||Lierse SK (Belgium)|
|Jerome Ngom Mbekeli||MID/DEF||9/30/1998||MFK Vyskov (Czech Republic)|
|Alexsander Jhonatta de Oliveira Andrade||MID||9/6/1998||Athletico Paranaense (Brazil)|
|Mark Segbers||DEF||4/18/1996||New England Revolution (MLS)|
|Killian Colombie||FWD||11/2/1995||Iona College (New York)|
|Camden Riley||MID/DEF||8/20/1996||University of the Pacific (Cali)|
Could SPR Return to Swope Soccer Village?
It’s not happening in 2019, as the club has announced they’ll play at Children’s Mercy Park again, but apparently it’s in the long-term plans to get the Swope Park Rangers to actually play in Swope Park again. During an #AskJake session on Twitter, SKC President and CEO Jake Reid indicated the plan was to return to Swope.
Jay Harris asked: “What is it going to take [to] actually get @SwopeRangers to play [in] Swope Park again? Do you ever see it happening?”
To which Reid responded, “Definitely where we want to be, need to expand to 5000 seats per USSF DII minimum standards. Working on it.”
Definitely where we want to be, need to expand to 5000 seats per USSF DII minimum standards. Working on it https://t.co/T1OqmygPHq— Jake Reid (@JakeReid33) February 18, 2019
Currently the capacity at Swope Soccer Village’s Championship Field is 1,500. There are rumors that other facilities, not just seating capacity, would need to be updated as well.
Swope Park Unveil New Kits
In Major League Soccer, clubs alternate what kit they change each year between home and away. The rules appear to be a bit different in the USL Championship. SPR unveiled two new kits for the 2019 season. They are sticking with their navy blue, orange and white color scheme of past years. Twitter’s reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, unlike the reaction to Sporting KC’s jersey unveiling.
The kits are simplistic and I’m a fan of the navy blue but if not for the orange socks, it would be very basic. Personally, I’m still not a fan of the orange. Maybe it’s because I can’t get the Houston Dynamo out of my head.
As for the white kit. Ugh! Daniel Salloi was poking fun at the rest of MLS releasing plain white kits and he jokingly asked the Kitman Mike Flaherty when SKC were releasing their white kits and then SPR went and did it.
If SPR are embracing orange, I’d like a bit more orange in the second kit. Maybe bring back the hoops from the primary kit over the last three seasons?
The Rangers have had a rough preseason, not based on results, but based on weather. After starting off with a 5-0 win as mentioned above, their second and fifth games have been cancelled due to weather. The first against Iowa Western Community College on February 9th and this weekends game against Creighton University first was moved to Swope and then cancelled all together.
In between cancellations they played to a 2-1 win over USL League One side, North Texas SC. The FC Dallas owned club got out to a quick lead on a Ricardo Pepi 5th minute goal. After the half new SPR signing Jerome Ngom Mbekeli equalized in the 47th minute and trialist Enoch Mushagalusa put them ahead for good in the 53rd minute. Here is the Rangers’ full lineup for that game per SportingKC.com.
Brooks Thompson (Max Trejo 60’); Will Little (Luke Pavone 60’), Camden Riley (Kaveh Rad 60’), Kamar Marriott (Dylan Hooper 46’), Kayden Pierre (Brandt Betts 60’); Pape N’Diaye (Jahon Rad 60’), Jake Davis (Rassambek Akhmatov 60’), Ayyoub Allach (Tucker Lepley 46’); Jerome Ngom Mbekeli (Sean Karani 60’ (Goah Jean Philippe Ponte 85’)), Wilson Harris (Guy Stephane Bedi 60’), Killian Colombie (Enoch Mushagalusa 46’)
In their other preseason road game, the results didn’t work out as well as they fell to their only USL Championship opponent of preseason, the Tulsa Roughnecks. Tulsa, who have been one of the worst teams in USL in recent years, pulled out a 2-1 win. Don’t read too deep into it though as SPR had lots of players on trial and no SKC loanees yet. Not to mention USL teams turnover their rosters greatly from year to year so Tulsa could suddenly be good.
Right before the half, Tulsa player Cristhian Altamirano scored a PK to put them in the lead. Just when hope looked lost, SKC Academy player Kaveh Rad, who was on an USL Academy contract with SPR last year, put a goal in the net in the 85th minute. However, the tie wasn’t to be as just two minutes later Andres Camilo Sanchez Gil scored for Tulsa to give them the win. Here is the lineup for the Rangers per SportingKC.com.
Max Trejo; Will Little (Luke Pavone 75’), Camden Riley (Kamar Marriott 75’), Pape N’Diaye (Sean Karani 83’), Alexsander (Brandt Betts 60’); Jahon Rad (Kaveh Rad 60’), Rassambek Akhmatov (Andres Camilo Sanchez Gil 60’), Ayyoub Allach (Enzo Mauriz 60’); Enoch Mushagalusa (Jerome Ngom Mbekeli 60’), Guy Stephane Bedi (Wilson Harris 60’), Killian Colombie (Goah Jean Philippe Ponte 60’)
They have one game left on the schedule against Texas United next Saturday.