Coach Vermes and Kevin Ellis during preseason training.
Sporting Kansas City is prepared to announce their second Home Grown player in club history today. The speculation is that it will be Kevin Ellis. Coaches have praised him throughout the preseason. Ellis was a member of the Juniors program for Kansas City playing for the U-16, U-18 and U-19 teams. Kevin attended Barton Community College where he continued to blossom, earning first team All American honors this year. He earned a second team All American honors last year.
Ellis played forward and midfield in his first season with the Barton Cougars scoring 23 goal and 8 assists. In his second season Kevin moved to the back line but still scored 11 goals with 4 assists.
I interviewed Coach Zambrano yesterday prior to the announcement that a Home Grown player would be signed and this is what he had to say about Ellis.
I think he really, really showed a type of growth that was highly noticeable. We saw him last year in one or two training sessions he came and just to take a look we saw a kid okay, with some abilities and what not but nothing really special. Whereas this time around we are just all extremely happy how he handled himself. For a young kid to understand what is expected of him and to hold himself well in competitive matches against bonafide professionals. I think he is a guy that I find as a revelation.
He's an excellent kid with a tremendous future.
When asked if Ellis would be offered a Home Grown contract?
That is not really a decision we are going to make immediately. Peter (Coach Vermes) obviously talked with all the persons that needed to be talked with, the parents of the player, the club itself, the owners. He has to come to that decision, that is a decision that will come sometime soon.
A little sooner than expected maybe, it appears a lot can change in 3 hours.
While it is possible that a different player will be announced it is very likely that it will be Ellis.
The Home Grown player category was established by Major League Soccer in 2007 to permit teams to promote youth academy players to professional contracts, bypassing the league’s annual SuperDraft or traditional allocation process. These players must meet Home Grown Player regulations as determined by the League, including participation in the club’s youth system for at least one year.
Goalkeeper Jon Kempin was signed in August 2010 as the first Home Grown Player signing in Sporting Kansas City history. The Blue Valley North High School graduate has represented the United States National Team at the Under-18 and Under-20 levels since signing with Kansas City.