Sporting Kansas City has acquired forward Khiry Shelton from New York City FC in exchange for defender Saad Abdul-Salaam, the club announced on Thursday. Shelton has been added to the Sporting KC roster, which includes 24 players under contract for 2018.
"Khiry is a player whose intangibles always stood out to us, even as we had followed him from early in his college years," Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. "We look forward to bringing him to Kansas City and are enthusiastic to see him on the field during preseason, which is just over a month away. Sporting KC also thanks Saad for his three years of service, and we wish him the best of luck in New York."
Shelton, 24, began his professional career at New York City FC, where he recorded six goals and 10 assists over three seasons. The 6-foot-3 attacker enjoyed a strong sophomore campaign in 2016, tallying four goals and finishing second on the team with nine assists in 22 MLS matches.
"This is a great opportunity presented by Sporting Kansas City, and I am excited for a new challenge in 2018," Shelton said. "I also want to thank New York City FC for their support over the past three seasons."
Capable of playing as a central forward or winger, Shelton helped New York City FC reach the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2016 and 2017 with consecutive second-place finishes in the Eastern Conference. He assisted three game-winning goals during his time with the Blues and converted half of his 12 career shots on target into goals.
Born in Fort Carson, Colorado, and raised in Leander, Texas, Shelton amassed 19 goals and 15 assists during a four-year college career at Oregon State University. As a senior in 2014, Shelton was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year and a MAC Hermann Finalist after notching 10 goals and 12 assists. While playing collegiately, Shelton also featured for the Austin Aztex (2012-13) and Lane United (2014) in the Premier Development League. New York City FC took Shelton with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.
On the youth international level, Shelton was selected to the United States U-18 Men's National Team for the 2010 Winter Tournament in Israel and the 2011 Lisbon International Tournament in Portugal. He represented his country again in 2015 and 2016 with the U-23 MNT, competing in friendlies and Olympic qualifiers. He also joined the U.S. Men's National Team for January Camp at the start of 2016.
Abdul-Salaam, 26, has started 54 of 78 competitive appearances for Sporting Kansas City since joining MLS in 2015 out of the University of Akron. The right back recorded one goal and nine assists for the club, opening his scoring account in a 3-0 win over Minnesota United FC this spring.