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2022 Sporting KC Roster, Contracts and Options

With the season just a week away, let’s look at everyone’s contract, international roster spots, other designations and how much space is left to sign players.

MLS: Playoffs- Round One-Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Sporting Kansas City Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 Major League Soccer season is just around the corner for Sporting Kansas City and the other 27 teams in the league. The season begins in a week with a road trip to Atlanta, but this is likely the last season for some players on the roster. It’s the nature of sports. So let’s look at the roster, how much space is available, who’s out of contract next and what designations each players has.

It should be noted the roster compliance date is February 25th, so some of these designations may change and The Blue Testament will come back and update them once they are made official.

Roster Space

Currently Under Contract: 27* Players

In MLS, each team can have 30 players on the roster. However, Sporting KC can clear a spot immediately by placing Alan Pulido on the season ending injury list. That means they can sign up to four more players, though expect them to leave some wiggle room. Additionally, there are further restrictions around the types of players that can be signed, but SKC still have seven Homegrown players, so they are only limited by MLS Salary Budget rules.

Designated Players

Alan Pulido, Johnny Russell, Gadi Kinda

In MLS, each team gets three and these are taken up. The team must keep at least one in a position to be bought down (with Targeted Allocation Money) in order to have the max allowable three U-22 players (see below), which they likely have.

If you’d like to know more on this and who can be bought down, we went deep into that here.

U-22 Initiative Players

Probably: Logan Ndenbe, Robert Voloder, Marinos Tzionis

MLS introduced the U-22 Initiative in 2021, but Sporting KC didn’t start using it until this year. The initiative allows a team to spend unlimited acquisition money (read: transfer fees) on a player and as long as their annual salary is under the max budget charge ($612,500 in 2022) and they don’t turn 23 in their first season, then they can go here instead of in a DP slot.

SKC (reportedly) spent transfer fees on the aforementioned Ndenbe, Voloder and Tzionis and they are young enough, but we won’t know if they are officially in these spots until the team confirms it.

International Players

Andreu Fontas, Alan Pulido*, Gadi Kinda, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, Remi Walter^, Jose Mauri, Logan Ndenbe, Robert Voloder, Marinos Tzionis, Nikola Vujnovic

Each MLS team is allotted eight international spots (unless they trade for more or send some away in trades) but SKC currently have 10. They can easily clear up two spots by placing Pulido on the previously mentioned injury list and another assuming Remi Walter’s green card comes through. There is a possibility more green cards are coming too based on prior comments by Peter Vermes. In 2022, they must arrive before the 25th, the roster compliance date, or they don’t help until 2023.

Out of Contract After 2022, No Option

Daniel Salloi, Andreu Fontas, Tim Melia, Roger Espinoza, Felipe Hernandez, Nikola Vujnovic*

This is quite a list. I don’t foresee Espinoza or Melia leaving unless they retire. But the rest of them are far more up in the air. Salloi had some cryptic comments earlier this week. Fontas makes over a million per season and they just brought in a guy much younger than him (Voloder) to push him. And I could see Hernandez being a 10-year starter for Sporting, but this will be a big season to prove he can bounce back from last season’s gambling suspension.

Vujnovic is on loan in 2022 and doesn’t have a contract option, but he has a purchase option and then a new contract would have to be reached.

Out of Contract After 2022 with 2023 Option Only

Graham Zusi, Cameron Duke, Khiry Shelton, John Pulskamp, Kendall McIntosh, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, Jose Mauri

More big names. Between just these two lists, over half of the team’s likely starters can be out of contract outside of Russell, Pulido, Walter and whoever is playing left back (and maybe Rosell since he’s probably the d-mid today). Kind of wild.

Out of Contract After 2022 with a 2023 and 2024 Option

Kaveh Rad, Kortne Ford

Two center backs looking to break through. I’ll be interested to find out Ford’s pay. He could be a bargain if he turns into the eventual RCB starter.

The Full Roster

Below is the entire roster, including their contract options and known roster designations. The U-22 spots are projections and will be altered if the team goes another direction.

2022 Sporting KC Roster

Player Position Status Joined Contract Expiration Option Years
Player Position Status Joined Contract Expiration Option Years
Graham Zusi RB 1/15/2009 2022 2023
Tim Melia GK 12/23/2014 2022 None
Roger Espinoza MID 1/6/2015 2022 None
Daniel Salloi LW HG 1/13/2016 2022 None
Johnny Russell RW DP 1/31/2018 2023 2024
Andreu Fontas CB INT 8/8/2018 2022 None
Cameron Duke MID HG 7/18/2019 2022 2023
Felipe Hernandez MID HG 8/30/2019 2022 None
Khiry Shelton FWD 12/9/2019 2022 2023
Alan Pulido CF INT-DP 12/10/2019 2023 None
Ozzie Cisneros MID HG 1/20/2020 2024 2025
Gadi Kinda MID INT-DP 1/23/2020 2023 None
John Pulskamp GK HG 2/24/2020 2022 2023
Kendall McIntosh GK 12/12/2020 2022 2023
Remi Walter MID INT 12/22/2020 2023 2024
Nicolas Isimat-Mirin CB INT 2/3/2021 2022 2023
Kaveh Rad CB HG 4/5/2021 2022 2023, 2024
Kayden Pierre RB HG 5/4/2021 2024 2025
Jose Mauri MID INT 8/5/2021 2022 2023
Jake Davis MID HG 8/19/2021 2023 2024
Ben Sweat LB 12/20/2021 2023 2024
Uri Rosell MID 12/21/21 2023 2024
Kortne Ford CB 1/14/22 2022 2023, 2024
Logan Ndembe LB INT-U22 1/14/22 2024 2025
Robert Voloder CB INT-U22 1/19/22 2024 2025
Marinos Tzionis FWD INT-U22 1/24/22 2024 2025
Nikola Vujnovic CF INT-Loan 2/15/2022 2022 Purchase