On Thursday, Sporting Kansas City’s roster climbed to 28 players. Though, this one is for a future impact more than an immediate impact. SKC announced the signing of 18-year-old Homegrown midfielder Cameron Duke. Duke becomes the 11th Homegrown signing in club history and joins a recent wave of signings like Gianluca Busio, Jaylin Lindsey and Tyler Freeman.
Duke is signed through 2022 with an options for the 2023 season, just like Freeman who officially joined on January 1st. Duke will join the team immediately.
Cameron Duke just graduated from Blue Valley West High School in May and has been a member of the SKC Academy since 2012. He helped the SKC U-19s to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs this year. Peter Vermes, spoke highly of Duke in his press release.
“Cam is someone I have known his entire life, and he has been in our system for several years,” Peter Vermes said. “He has worked very hard to reach this goal, and we are glad to see that he has become a part of the Sporting Kansas City first team. He still has a lot left to accomplish, much like all the young players who transition from our Academy into the MLS roster. This is the next step in trying to make his professional dreams possible.”
Duke’s older brother, Christian, was formerly a member of Sporting KC as well. He was the 14th overall draft pick for Sporting in the 2013 Supplemental Draft. Christian never made an appearance with the first team instead going out on loan to Orlando City SC (when they were still a USL club) in 2013 and OKC Energy FC (USL) in 2014 and 2015. After that the edler Duke was the first signing of SKC’s USL club the Swope Park Rangers before ultimately joining Orange County SC after two seasons of being the captain for SPR. Christian hasn’t play at all for OCSC in 2019.
Cameron will look for greater success with Sporting KC and will have a head start on his brother. Christian didn’t join until after spending four years in college at the University of San Diego. Cam on the other hand is just 18 and will have a five year head start on his SKC career.
In 2018, Cameron Duke trained with Bayern Munich during the summer before ultimately returning to the states. Coincidentally, as a junior in high school, Cameron Duke committed to playing at Duke University whose basketball team play at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Instead of heading to college he’ll be starting his pro career with SKC.
Where Does Duke Fit In?
Cameron Duke is listed as a midfielder in the press release and that is the deepest position on the SKC roster. There are currently 10 players listed as midfielders: Felipe Gutierrez, Ilie Sanchez, Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Gedion Zelalem, Gianluca Busio, Wan Kuzain, Kelyn Rowe and Yohan Croizet. Jimmy Medranda has also been known to lineup in the middle of the park.
Adding Duke to that list brings the total to 11 or 12 players for three positions. Obviously Duke’s immediate future is with the Swope Park Rangers considering veteran players like Rowe have had to be loaned down to get minutes.
In what little tape I’ve seen on Duke playing for the academy, he appears to lineup in one of the more advanced midfield roles in the organization’s 4-3-3 formation. The future seems very bright with young players like Duke, Busio, Lindsey, Kuzain and Freeman coming up through the ranks. Not to mention all the academy kids having good showings for the Swope Park Rangers like the Rad brothers and Sean Karani.