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
|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|