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Sporting KC II goalkeeper coach joins playing roster

Veteran Hildebrandt comes out of retirement

Coach Mitch Hildebrandt warming up one of his keepers prior to a match.
Thad Bell

Sporting Kansas City II has added goalkeeper coach Mitch Hildebrandt to their playing roster, the club announced Wednesday afternoon.

The 31-year-old will come out of retirement and become the club’s first ever player-coach after keeper Gavin Krenecki’s season ended prematurely due to an undisclosed injury.

Hildebrandt joins the playing squad less than a year into his tenure as the team’s goalkeeper coach, joining the club in January. The Michigan native became a relatively famous name throughout American soccer in 2017 when he led his FC Cincinnati side to a Cinderella Story in the U.S. Open Cup, then in the USL, where they pulled off shocking upsets against MLS sides Columbus Crew and the Chicago Fire (where he stopped three of four penalties in a shootout) before the New York Red Bulls ended their run in the semifinals.

The Oakland University graduate also has NASL and USL experience with Minnesota United and most recently played his only season in the MLS with Atlanta United in 2018, where he made eight games on loan in the USL with Atlanta United 2.

Hildebrandt carries a total of 95 career appearances throughout his seven year professional career. He also collected the 2016 USL Goalkeeper of the Year with Cincinnati and was on the 2018 MLS Cup-winning roster with Atlanta United.

Still with a healthy Brooks Thompson and Remi Prieur, it would be a surprise if Hildebrandt plays in the final four matches this season, although this move may mean that John Pulskamp has returned to the first team for the remainder of the season after being named to the bench in their win over Minnesota United. Manager of SKC II Paulo Nagamura could give his goalkeeper coach his first game in nearly two years when they make their final ever visit to St. Louis on Saturday.