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Former SKC Academy Forward Tucker Stephenson Signs with Swope Park Rangers

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The former Kaw Valley forward joins a growing SPR front line.

MLS: LA Galaxy at Sporting Kansas City Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday Sporting Kansas City announced the newest addition to their USL Championship club, the Swope Park Rangers. The club added former SKC Academy forward Tucker Stephenson to their growing roster. That brings the roster up to 25 players who are either on deals directly with SPR or on academy contracts with the USL side.

That news comes on the heels of another rumored addition to the forward line The Blue Testament reported two weeks ago. Portuguese winger Ze Pedro is still rumored to be joining the club.

Stephenson will join the team after playing for Kaw Valley FC in 2018. KVFC are coached by Sporting KC Director of Talent Identification Istvan Urbanyi and play in USL League Two (formerly USL PDL). Stephenson is the first such player to progress from SKC’s Academy to Kaw Valley and then onto SPR.

Before joining KVFC and SPR, Stephenson played college soccer for both West Virginia University (freshman and sophomore years) and Loyola University (junior and senior years). He enjoyed a breakout year when coming to USL2 though as he scored nine goals in 11 appearances and ultimately was crowned MVP for Kaw Valley last season.

In 2017, Stephenson played for another USL2 club, the Des Moines Menace.

When he joins the team he’ll join a forward line that is hungry for goals. The only other forwards currently on the roster are Camilo Benitez, Wilson Harris, Ethan Vanacore-Decker, Jerome Ngom Mbekeli, Killian Colombie, William Opoku Mensah, Sean Karani and Josh Chung.

Of those players, EVD leads the way with three goals. Mbekeli and Harris have two. And literally no one else has scored. Tyler Freeman, while on loan from Sporting KC, has added one more goal to the forward line.

Benitez has been out all season with a hip injury. Mensah has reportedly underwhelmed and has yet to take the field. And SKC Academy player Josh Chung just joined the team in May but has yet to see the field. There is definitely room for a strong presence to break through and finish some of the chances the wingers and midfielders have created.

The Rangers are back in action on Saturday against the Charleston Battery at home in Children’s Mercy Park. It will mark the first time the Battery have come to Kansas City to face SPR and it will be the second time the clubs have ever met. In their prior meeting the teams battled to a 1-1 draw and two players were sent off in stoppage time. Ian Svantesson for a poor challenge and Sporting KC goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas for dissent (his second yellow card for the same action in the game).

Below is the full roster (not including potential SKC loanees).

SPR Roster - 7/23/2019

# Name Position DOB Prior Club Joined
# Name Position DOB Prior Club Joined
85 Felipe Hernandez MID 6/8/1998 SKC Academy 1/6/2017
49 Will Little FWD 4/9/1998 SKC Academy 1/6/2017
77 Camilo Benitez Wing 8/16/1999 SKC Academy 2/9/2018
96 Wilson Harris CF 11/28/1999 SKC Academy 7/3/2018
95 Rassambek Akhmatov MID 5/31/1996 FC Miami City (USL League Two) 8/3/2018
91 Ethan Vanacore-Decker CF 10/6/1994 North County United (USL League Two) 8/10/2018
98 Ayyoub Allach MID 1/28/1998 Lierse SK (Belgium) 1/4/2019
39 Jerome Ngom Mbekeli Wing 9/30/1998 MFK Vyskov (Czech Republic) 1/4/2019
92 Alexsander Andrade LB 9/6/1998 Athletico Paranaense (Brazil) 1/31/2019
43 Mark Segbers RB 4/18/1996 New England Revolution (MLS) 2/6/2019
53 Killian Colombie LW 11/2/1995 Iona College (New York) 2/12/2019
44 Camden Riley MID/CB 8/20/1996 University of the Pacific (Cali) 2/20/2019
79 William Opoku Mensah FWD 1/3/1996 Karela United (Ghana) 3/6/2019
31 Brooks Thompson GK 6/13/2002 SKC Academy 3/7/2019
60 Mo Abualnadi* CB 2/8/2001 SKC Academy 3/8/2019
64 Jake Davis* MID 1/3/2002 SKC Academy 3/8/2019
80 Sean Karani* RW 12/14/2000 SKC Academy 3/8/2019
67 Max Trejo* GK 4/10/2002 SKC Academy 4/4/2019
50 Dylan Hooper* CB 11/13/2003 SKC Academy 4/4/2019
48 Kaveh Rad* DEF 6/13/2001 SKC Academy 4/4/2019
47 Tucker Lepley* MID 1/17/2002 SKC Academy 4/4/2019
45 John Pulskamp GK 4/19/2001 LA Galaxy Academy 4/5/2019
54 Gyuwon Joshua Chung* FWD 1/29/2001 SKC Academy 5/10/2019
84 Jahon Rad* MID 6/13/2001 SKC Academy 5/10/2019
Tyler Stephenson FWD 10/23/1996 Kaw Valley FC (USL League Two) 7/23/2019
*Player is on an academy contract.