Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Hernandez reinstated from gambling suspension

MLS Sporting KC Real Salt Lake Soccer
Posted at 12:24 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 13:24:48-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Hernandez was reinstated Tuesday by Major League Soccer.

Hernandez was suspended Oct. 8 for the remainder of the 2021 season after an investigation into his gambling habits, including betting on MLS matches.

“The reinstatement is subject to certain ongoing conditions, including Hernandez’s continued abstinence from gambling,” the league said in a release announcing the end of the three-month suspension. “MLS and Sporting Kansas City will continue to ensure that he receives support and counseling as necessary.”

The investigation was launched last summer when Hernandez told team officials on July 5 “that he was concerned about his personal safety due to his gambling debts.” The MLS announced at the time he was suspended.

Hernandez had engaged in “extensive and unlawful sports gambling” during his MLS career, including two online bets placed on MLS matches — none that involved Sporting KC.

Among the investigation’s other conclusions, there was no evidence he'd ever bet on an SKC match, that his gambling impacted the integrity of those matches or that other MLS players had placed a wager on league matches.

“Hernandez cooperated fully with the league’s investigation and will be eligible for reinstatement on January 1, 2022 on application to the Commissioner, who will consider Hernandez’s compliance based on certain directives, including ongoing counseling,” MLS said in October.

Hernandez, 23, was born in Ibagué, Colombia, and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, where he joined Sporting Nashville Heroes and eventually signed with Sporting KC as a homegrown player.

He formally joined the SKC Academy in 2014 and spent three seasons with Sporting KC II, formerly the Swope Park Rangers, scoring 13 goals with 12 assists in 85 matches from 2017-19.

Hernandez made his MLS debut in 2019, making one start in two appearances, and featured in 16 matches, including eight starts, in 2020.

He appeared in six matches, including four starts, last season before the suspension and has a goal and three assists in 24 career MLS matches.