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Sporting players visit Academy training as 2019-20 season kicks off

By Anna Salloi & Sam Kovzan, 09/04/19, 10:00AM CDT


Botond Barath (top middle) and Daniel Salloi (kneeling right) visit the Sporting KC U-12s

As the 2019-20 campaign kicks into full swing, Sporting Kansas City Academy players have enjoyed multiple visits from first-team professionals at Swope Soccer Village.

Six Sporting players interacted with Academy talents throughout the second half of August, sharing words of wisdom and encouragement ahead of the new season.

  • Aug. 20: defender Graham Smith and midfielder Gedion Zelalem
  • Aug. 27: forwards Erik Hurtado and Krisztian Nemeth
  • Aug. 29: defender Botond Barath and forward Daniel Salloi

Among the MLS professionals who visited Swope Soccer Village was Daniel Salloi, the skillful Hungarian forward who developed in the Sporting KC Academy before signing as a Homegrown Player in 2016.

“It’s always a nice feeling going back to visit the Academy, and it was even better this time because I got to interact with our young players,” Salloi said. “This was such a brilliant idea from the club to bring together professional players and young talents who train every day with hopes of reaching the first team. From the youngest age groups to the oldest, you can tell that the kids are receiving lots of help from coaches who show them what it takes to make it to the top level.

“We did a Q&A and also joined practice, where we were able to have some fun and feel like academy players again,” Salloi continued. “With every Academy visit, I hope we can pass along at least one important message that will help these players along the way and motivate them in different situations.”

Sporting Kansas City first teamers visit Academy trainings periodically throughout the year to provide valuable insight, inspiration and pointers for younger players who aspire to reach the professional level within Sporting’s player pathway

Daniel Salloi (left) and Botond Barath (right) conduct a Q&A

Graham Smith (top left) and Gedion Zelalem (top right) join the Sporting KC U-12s

Graham Smith (left) and Gedion Zelalem (right)

Krisztian Nemeth (left) and Erik Hurtado (right)

Academy Technical Coach Michel Ribeiro (left) with Krisztian Nemeth (right)

Erik Hurtado with Academy players