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Sporting KC’s Contract Situations Post-Transfer Window

All the terms of the deals, option years and more as Kansas City head towards the 2022-2023 offseason.

MLS: New England Revolution at Sporting Kansas City
Kansas City, Kansas, USA; Sporting Kansas City forward Johnny Russell (7) celebrates with midfielder Graham Zusi (8), defender Logan Ndenbe (18) and midfielder Roger Espinoza (15) after scoring a goal against the New England Revolution during the second half at Children’s Mercy Park.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, the secondary transfer window came to a close with Sporting Kansas City not making any last minute moves, having gotten their deals done early in the window. They signed 22-year-old striker William Agada and 27-year-old midfielder/winger Erik Thommy. So far, both have looked like impactful signings. It isn’t hard to imagine they’ll go on to be some of the best summer window signings ever.

The roster is technically not done yet, as teams can make signings through the roster freeze date of September 2, 2022. However, even when Sporting make a move outside of the window, it’s likely to be a Homegrown player who is guaranteed for at least a few seasons (Jake Davis and Felipe Hernandez being somewhat recent examples).

For that reason, it makes sense to break down who is out of contract after this season, who has at least one contract option year and who is signed at least through 2023 (for the full table, skip to the bottom of the story). This will help set the stage for who will definitely be back and who will possibly be gone in what will be one of the longer offseasons in recent club history.

Out of Contract

The following players are out of contract following the season. That means they either will be eligible for free agency or required to go through one of the many MLS roster allocation processes, like the Re-Entry Draft. Free agency is looser in 2023 with players now needing to be only 24-years-old and have five years of MLS service, versus 28/8 before. This makes someone like Daniel Salloi a free agent, when he’d have been more restricted in the past.

One other note on players out of contract is they can sign contracts in other leagues as of right now. They just have to be six-months away from being out of contract and we’ve past that point.

Expiring Deals: Tim Melia, Roger Espinoza, Daniel Salloi, Andreu Fontas, Felipe Hernandez

Contract Options

These players are not as free as the above players as they have team-held contract options for at least the 2023 season. What that means is the team can choose to decline their option(s) and then they would disperse to one of the aforementioned allocation options (or go abroad). Typically these announcements come quickly after the season.

In less words, these are deals the team can get out of if they wish to move on.

2023 Option Only: Graham Zusi, Cam Duke, Khiry Shelton, Kendall McIntosh, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin

2023 & 2024 Option: Kaveh Rad, Kortne Ford

So the team can easily move on from 12 of their 27 players by just letting guys walk or declining their options. And there is a significant chunk of salaries that would be offloaded, however, it wouldn’t be any of the team’s Designated Players.

In addition, the club has an option to buy out a player by paying for their contract and moving on from them in the offseason, but they can only do this one time per offseason and get any salary budget relief. Outside of that, if you don’t see a name listed above for a player you hoped would be gone, they can trade, transfer or mutually terminate a deal with them. Likely that means most of the 15 other guys will still be around come 2023.

Here is the full table of all 27 contracted players with their ages as of today.

Late 2022 Sporting KC Contract Options

Player Position Status Joined Age Expiration Options
Player Position Status Joined Age Expiration Options
Graham Zusi RB - 1/15/2009 35 2022 2023
Tim Melia GK - 12/23/2014 36 2022 None
Roger Espinoza MID - 1/6/2015 35 2022 None
Daniel Salloi LW HG 1/13/2016 26 2022 None
Johnny Russell RW DP 1/31/2018 32 2023 2024
Andreu Fontas CB INT 8/8/2018 32 2022 None
Cameron Duke MID HG 7/18/2019 21 2022 2023
Felipe Hernandez MID HG 8/30/2019 24 2022 None
Khiry Shelton FWD - 12/9/2019 29 2022 2023
Alan Pulido CF DP 12/10/2019 31 2023 None
Ozzie Cisneros MID HG 1/20/2020 18 2024 2025
Gadi Kinda MID INT-DP 1/23/2020 28 2023 None
John Pulskamp GK HG 2/24/2020 21 2025 2026
Kendall McIntosh GK - 12/12/2020 28 2022 2023
Remi Walter MID - 12/22/2020 27 2023 2024
Nicolas Isimat-Mirin CB INT 2/3/2021 30 2022 2023
Kaveh Rad CB HG 4/5/2021 21 2022 2023, 2024
Kayden Pierre RB HG 5/4/2021 19 2024 2025
Jake Davis MID HG 8/19/2021 20 2023 2024
Ben Sweat LB - 12/20/2021 30 2023 2024
Uri Rosell MID - 12/21/21 30 2023 2024
Kortne Ford CB - 1/14/22 26 2022 2023, 2024
Logan Ndembe LB INT-U22 1/14/22 22 2024 2025
Robert Voloder CB INT-U22 1/19/22 21 2024 2025
Marinos Tzionis FWD INT-U22 1/24/22 21 2024 2025
William Agada CF INT 6/23/22 22 2023 2024, 2025
Erik Thommy FWD/MID INT 6/23/22 27 2024 2025
INT = International Roster Spot. Teams get eight, barring a trade.
HG = Homegrown. Unlimited amount.
DP = Designated Player. Each team can have up to three.
U-22 = U-22 Initiative Player. Teams can have one of three, depending on DP signings.

I’d like to give a special shoutout to Sporting KC who are very transparent on these moves. When researching players on other teams, clubs often don’t make this information available, which makes is challenging to know what flexibility a club has. The next step will hopefully be seeing how each team has spent their allocation money to know how much room they really have to work with.