Sporting KC signs 2 teens among 3 homegrown players

Sporting Kansas City homegrown players
Posted at 5:39 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 19:31:31-05

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Sporting Kansas City has signed homegrown players Grayson Barber, Ozzie Cisneros and Brooks Thompson as the Major League Soccer club continues to get younger by developing players from within its system.

The 18-year-old Thompson, along with the 20-year-old Barber and 16-year-old Cisneros help to form the backbone of a major youth movement by Sporting KC.

All three players signed multi-year MLS contracts with options, giving Sporting KC a total of players on the current roster developed through the club’s academy system, according to a release from the team.

The average age of their roster is 25 years old.

Thompson, an Indiana native who plays goalkeeper, has played two seasons with Sporting Kansas City II in the USL Championship league, posting a club-best 1.17 goals-against average in six appearances during 2020.

"I'm extremely happy to sign my first MLS contract and join the first team," Thompson said in a statement. "I look forward to what the year has to offer and can't wait to get to work."

Barber, a South Carolina native who plays midfielder, played for Sporting KC Academy from 2015-17 before playing collegiately at Clemson, where he scored 13 goals with 18 assists in 49 games.

"I'm delighted to sign for Sporting KC," Barber said in a statement. "It's really a dream come true to be back in Kansas City after developing in the Academy. I have always dreamed of playing for this club and getting this opportunity is a great feeling."

Cisneros — a native of Omaha, Nebraska, who plays forward — joined the Sporting KC Academy at 12 years old and has logged nearly 70 matches in the system for parts of five seasons.

"I'm extremely happy to sign a contract with the first team at Sporting KC," Cisneros said in a statement. "This has been a dream of mine ever since I first joined the Academy and I'm ready to work my hardest for the club."

He has played for the U.S. Under-15 Boys' National Team and is the fourth-youngest Homegrown Player signing in club history.

Only defender Erik Palmer-Brown (2013), midfielder Gianluca Busio (2017) and forward Tyler Freeman (2018) were younger.

The trio of new signings joins seven other players from the club’s developmental ranks — Busio, Freeman, Cam Duke, Wilson Harris, Felipe Hernandez, Jaylin Lindsey and Daniel Salloi.