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Mataeo Bunbury Parts Ways with Sporting Kansas City

The 17-year-old was a promising talent in the SKC Academy.

Syndication: The Commercial Appeal Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal / USA TODAY NETWORK

2022 just keeps kicking Sporting Kansas City while they are down. As if falling back to last place in the West after a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on Sunday night wasn’t bad enough, they’ve lost a promising prospect in recent weeks.

The Blue Testament confirmed with Peter Vermes after the RBNY game that Mataeo Bunbury has left the SKC Academy. He wanted a first team contract and they didn’t think he was ready.

Mataeo just turned 17-years-old last month. At the time of his leaving, he was first on Sporting KC II in scoring with four goals across 10 appearances including six starts (633 minutes). Rauf Salifu, the team’s starting striker, scored four goals on Saturday night and took the team lead with six on the season.

Bunbury primarily lined up on the right wing and the effort to market him to other teams has begun with a highlight package put out last month. This is a common move from players who are available to be signed.

The highlights chosen are interesting, not showing most of his goals and showing multiple errors. Also the majority of them are on the Spiideo camera that MLS NEXT Pro uses and it’s tough to even pick out his #47 (any shots where it’s visible is a closer, multi-camera setup and likely the game of the week).

On a related note, I confirmed with SKC II that the league intends to keep using this camera setup for the remainder of the 2022 season and match replays will continue to not be available.

The loss of Bunbury definitely hurts. He had “winger of the future" vibes and had been an integral part of SKC II this year. If he signs elsewhere, SKC would presumably be entitled to training compensation, but they’ll likely miss out on any large transfer fee that may have one day come for him or simply missed out on his potential to help the first team down the road.

This isn’t the first time Sporting KC have lost a player for nothing, either become of them walking away on a free transfer (Erik Palmer-Brown) or moving on from guys relatively early for one reason or another.

Update: Alex Bunbury, Mataeo's father, released a statement via a series of Tweets.