Sporting Kansas City II made another announcement of a signing today as they move towards the tentative league start date on May 1st. This signing is the addition of a United States youth international left back, Travian Sousa.
The 19-year-old was previously with Hamburger SV in the Bundesliga (Germany). He primarily played with their U-19 squad as well as Hamburger II which play in the German fourth tier. Reportedly, he broke into first team training just three months into his stint overseas. Before heading abroad, Sousa was a member of the Sacramento Republic (USL Championship) Academy (Sacramento will join MLS in 2023).
The California native has represented the United States but is also eligible to represent Portugal (he has a Portuguese passport). He has been with the US at the U-14, U-19 and U-20 levels.
There are reports that Sousa was released from Hamburg due to “disciplinary reasons.” It appears he’s been out of contract since October 2020 according to Transfermarkt. Obviously, that could be a concern, but if he has issues with authority, I’m sure Peter Vermes or Paula Nagamura would not stand for that. Perhaps this is a chance for a clean slate for a young player with plenty of potential.
A report from Sousa’s agent does state his contract was terminated with Hamburg due to “mutual consent.” That story also states he was frustrated to not get first team opportunities. He mostly was with the U-19s, so it’s unclear if being with SKC II will placate those concerns or if there is promise of a potential first team deal.
In that same story, Sousa was also linked to moves to Manchester United and Liverpool. Reportedly many teams in the Premier League were interested, but because of Brexit related issues with getting players to England, things were being complicated. This quote, in particular, stood out to me (emphasis mine):
“Sousa is also on the radar of a number of other Premier League sides who are intrigued by the chance to bring in one of the USA’s brightest defensive prospects on a free transfer.”
As always, SKC II seems to be a good spot for players Sporting aren’t sure have earned a first team deal. If he impresses, and shows maturity, Sporting KC have the ability to walk away from Amadou Dia and Luis Martins after the 2021 season by declining their options. They could also move Sousa up to the first team if he leaps ahead or proves his worth. Of course, they could simply choose to sell Sousa abroad if he proves to be a real talent.
Sporting KC II Roster Fit
SKC II currently have just one left back on the roster, as previous left back Dillon Serna joined the Colorado Springs Switchbacks. The only left back still on the roster is also unlikely to be around in 2021. Aeden Stanley signed with SKC II and then was promptly taken in the first round of the 2021 MLS SuperDraft by Austin FC. With that team still going through a roster build, it’s more likely they sign Stanley which would release him from his deal with SKC II.
That would seem to clear the way for Sousa to push for starting left back minutes. If he’s as talented as sources say, this could be a real steal for Sporting KC II and the organization as a whole. He did pick up four assists in just 14 games this season, which is pretty good for a defender. I suspect he’ll fit the attacking left back profile that Peter Vermes and company desire.
It’s easy to get excited about a promising young player, but often times it doesn’t work out. Hopefully, this will be one of the times it does.