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Sporting KC signs 19-year-old center back Kaveh Rad as Homegrown Player

By Sam Kovzan, 04/05/21, 10:00AM CDT


Sporting Kansas City has signed 19-year-old center back Kaveh Rad as a Homegrown Player, the club announced today.

Rad has signed a two-year MLS contract through 2022 with options for 2023 and 2024, becoming the 17th Homegrown Player to emerge from the Sporting Kansas City Academy. Sporting's roster now has 11 first team players developed in the club's academy, most in Major League Soccer.

A native of North Carolina, Rad has started 34 of 36 matches for Sporting Kansas City II in the USL Championship over the last two seasons. He enjoyed a breakout year for the club in 2019, signing an amateur academy contract and making 22 USL Championship appearances under head coach Paulo Nagamura. Rad started 14 matches for Sporting KC II during a shortened 2020 campaign, leading the team in minutes (1,260) and passes (871) while starting in four of the club’s five wins.

Rad is coming off an impressive preseason campaign with the Sporting KC first team that saw him start three of four appearances in Arizona and contribute to two shutouts for Manager Peter Vermes’ side.

Rad and his twin brother Jahon—who is under contract with Sporting KC II—moved from Durham, North Carolina, to Kansas City to join the Sporting KC Academy in 2016. He recorded seven goals and 65 league appearances in the U.S Soccer Development Academy from 2016-2019, representing Sporting at the U-15 through U-19 levels.

During his time in the academy, Rad helped lead the Sporting KC U-19s to consecutive appearances at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs in 2018 and 2019, including a dramatic run to the quarterfinals in the summer of 2019 under coach Rumba Munthali. Prior to arriving in Kansas City, the Rad brothers competed for North Carolina academy club Capital Area RailHawks Academy.

Rad parlayed his Academy success into a consistent run of games for Sporting KC II in 2019, as he started 20 of the club’s final 26 matches that year. He inked his first professional contract with the club in January 2020 and helped Sporting KC II to victories over eventual Eastern Conference first-place finisher Louisville City FC and perennial title challengers Indy Eleven. Despite playing 14 of 16 matches away from home last year, Rad and Sporting KC II climbed 14 spots in the overall USL Championship regular season standings from 2019 to 2020.

Rad joins Grayson Barber, Gianluca Busio, Ozzie Cisneros, Cam Duke, Tyler Freeman, Wilson Harris, Felipe Hernandez, Jaylin Lindsey, Daniel Salloi and Brooks Thompson as Academy products on Sporting’s roster. For a full list of Sporting’s offseason roster moves ahead of the 2021 MLS campaign, visit

Sporting Kansas City will kick off the club's 26th season in MLS on Saturday, April 17, visiting the New York Red Bulls at 7 p.m. CT. Vermes’ men will then host Orlando City SC in a highly anticipated Children's Mercy Park home opener on Friday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. CT. Tickets to Sporting's first four home matches are available while supplies last at

Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) signs defender Kaveh Rad as a Homegrown Player.

Kaveh Rad (KAH-vay rahd)
Position: Defender
Number: 48
Born: 6/13/2001 (19 years old)
Height: 5-11
Weight: 165 lbs.
Hometown: Durham, North Carolina
Birthplace: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Citizenship: USA
Previous Club: Sporting KC II (USL Championship)
Twitter: @KavehRad11
Instagram: @_kavehrad

Sporting KC Homegrown Players from SKC Academy
(Age upon signing in parenthesis)

2010 – Goalkeeper Jon Kempin (17)
2011 – Defender Kevin Ellis (19)
2013 – Defender Erik Palmer-Brown (16)
2016 – Forward Daniel Salloi (19) *
2017 – Midfielder Gianluca Busio (15) *
2017 – Defender Jaylin Lindsey (17) *
2018 – Defender Matt Lewis (21)
2018 – Forward Zach Wright (22)
2018 – Midfielder Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal (19)
2018 – Forward Tyler Freeman (15) *
2019 – Midfielder Cam Duke (18) *
2019 – Midfielder Felipe Hernandez (21) *
2020 – Forward Wilson Harris (20) *
2021 – Midfielder Grayson Barber (20) *
2021 – Forward Ozzie Cisneros (16) *
2021 – Goalkeeper Brooks Thompson (18) *
2021 – Defender Kaveh Rad (19) *

Denotes player on current team