Friday, March 15, 2013

Sporting KC agrees to loan four players to USL PRO affiliate Orlando City SC

Sporting Kansas City announced on Thursday that the club has agreed to loan four players to the team's official USL PRO affiliate Orlando City Soccer Club.

Goalkeeper Jon Kempin, defender Yann Songo'o, midfielder Christian Duke and forward Dom Dwyer will join the Lions today in preparation for their USL PRO season opener on April 7.

"We're excited about this partnership with Orlando because it not only gives us an opportunity to partner with a great organization, but more importantly it also gives us an opportunity for players who we think have real potential within our team to be able to go into an environment and play on a regular basis for a real competition," Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes. "That's a big aspect of the growth of a player so that constant competitiveness is going to be huge for their development."

Sporting Kansas City entered into a two-year agreement with Orlando City SC in January in conjunction with Major League Soccer and USL PRO's new multi-year partnership. Orlando City is led by Manager Adrian Heath, the USL PRO's Coach of the Year each of the past two seasons, and were crowned USL PRO champions in 2011.

Winners of the Commissioner's Cup each of the last two years for the best regular season record, Orlando City SC is one 13 USL PRO teams competing in the 26-game regular season played from April thru August.

All USL PRO games will be streamed live online through and Orlando City will enter the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in the second round of the tournament on May 21.

Duke, 21, signed his first professional contract last month after being selected in the first round of the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft out of the University of San Diego.

An Overland Park, Kan. native, Duke played for the Sporting KC Academy while attending Shawnee Mission South High School. He went on to appear in 60 games during his four-year collegiate career, earning six assists and leading the team to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament as a senior in 2012.

Dwyer, 22, was selected in the first round of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of South Florida. After appearing in international friendlies against Montpellier Herault SC and Stoke City FC, Dwyer made his MLS debut against Toronto FC and came off the bench in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Houston. He made nine MLS Reserve League appearances with two goals.

Kempin, 19, was Sporting Kansas City's first Home Grown Player upon signing at age 17 in 2010. The Leawood, Kan. native has extensive experience for the United States at the Youth National Team level, most recently joining the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team in January.

He was also a member of the U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team in November 2011 for a training camp held in Germany. Kempin and Dwyer both started against Orlando City SC in the third round of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Sporting Park.

Songo'o, 21, signed with Sporting Kansas City in December and appeared in seven of the team's matches during the pre-season. A Cameroon youth international, Songo'o represented his country at the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

After developing as a youth with Deportivo de la Coruna and Real Zaragoza in Spain, Songo'o has played professionally for FC Metz, Real Zaragoza B, CE Sabadell FC and Pobla de Mafumet CF.

Sporting Kansas City, who acquired defenders Lawrence Olum and Mechack Jerome from Orlando City, will have the option to recall any of the four players during the loan period.

Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) agrees to loan Christian Duke, Dom Dwyer, Jon Kempin and Songo'o to Orlando City Soccer Club (USL PRO).