Sporting Kansas City II announced today that the club has signed 22-year-old midfielder and Sporting KC Academy Product Sebastian Cruz to an MLS NEXT Pro professional contract. Cruz will begin his pro career after three standout seasons at Cal State Fullerton, after developing in the SKC Academy from 2016-2018.
Born and raised in California, Cruz spent two seasons with De Anza Force in the San Francisco Bay area before training in the heralded academy of Liga MX side Pachuca. He then moved to Kansas City to join the Sporting KC Academy in 2016 for the start of a two-year tenure at the club.
The versatile midfielder competed at the U-16 through U-19 levels and enjoyed a major breakthrough in 2018 by spending the preseason with Sporting's first team in Phoenix, Arizona, signing an amateur contract with Sporting KC II in the USL Championship and scoring nine goals across 26 matches with the U-19s. During his time with SKC II, then known as the Swope Park Rangers, Cruz made seven appearances and helped the team make its third consecutive trip to the USL Cup Playoffs. At the end of 2018, Cruz was named the Bob Gansler Academy Player of the Year.
Following his time in Kansas City, Cruz embarked on a successful college career at Cal State Fullerton. He started all 20 matches as a freshman in 2019, notching two goals and four assists, and helped the Titans win their first eight games for the best start to a season in program history.
After Fullerton's 2020 campaign was canceled due to Covid, Cruz took another step forward in 2021 by adding three assists and leading the team with seven goals, second most in the Big West Conference. Three of his seven strikes were match-winners against San Francisco, San Diego and UC Davis.
Cruz ended his tenure at Fullerton with a brilliant junior season last fall. He became the first Titan to earn Big West Midfielder of the Year honors outright and the program's first player to be named to the United Soccer Coaches All-Far West Region First Team. With six assist and a team-high eight goals, Cruz again finished second on the Big West Conference scoring chart as an all-conference first team selection.
Cruz joined SKC II for the club's 2023 preseason presented by Central Bank as a trialist and netted a goal in the opening match against Union Omaha at Swope Soccer Village. The midfielder is back for his second stint with the team now after inking his first professional contract.
Born: 7/31/2000 (22 years old)
Weight: 150 lbs.
Birthplace: Fresno, California