Sporting Kansas City II announced Tuesday afternoon that they have signed Bailey Sparks to an academy contract. The Dallas, Texas native joins the organization pending approval from the league and federation.
Sparks, 17, led @solar_soccer to the U-17 U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Championship in 2019. Sparks was honored with the Golden Ball, awarded to the best player of the Playoffs pic.twitter.com/DTl3ZScjTN— Sporting KC II (@SportingKCII) July 14, 2020
Sparks joins SKC II after leading Dallas academy club Solar Soccer Club to the U-17 Boys’ Development Academy Championship in 2018-19 and was honored with the Golden Ball award as the best U-17 player from the USSDA Playoffs.
When he was 14, Sparks was one of 32 players selected across the U.S. to participate in a training stint in Amsterdam as part of the Generation Adidas International AFC Ajax Select Program in 2017. In January of 2019, the 17-year-old has represented the U.S. U-17 National Team at the Nike International Friendlies in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
Reported earlier this month, Sparks joined Sporting KC’s Academy. When The Blue Testament reached out to the club to confirm they were not able to comment at that time. Now the move has been made official.
Hearing Solar's star U19 Bailey Sparks has joined Sporting KC's Academy. Sparks is a 2002 and class of 2021.— 3rd Degree (@3rdDegreeNet) July 2, 2020
He can't sign with Sporting in MLS (Homegrown territory rule) but can join their USL side (and will, I would imagine, play with Sporting II now).
According to TopDrawerSoccer, he is committed to play NCAA Division 1 soccer at Southern Methodist University of the American Athletic Conference.
According to 3rd Degree, Sporting KC cannot sign Sparks to a first team Homegrown deal without trading for his Homegrown rights, since he comes from Dallas’ territory. This differs from the Josh Sargent situation in that he was already within SKC’s Homegrown territory, he just needed to (and of course never did) spend time with the SKC Academy.
Sparks is now the eighth teenager under contract with Sporting KC II and could see his debut as early as this Saturday when SKC II make their return to play against the Indy Eleven in the USL Championship.