Sporting KC signs 15-year-old forward Gianluca Busio

At 15 years and 89 days, Gianluca Busio  became the second-youngest player in MLS's 22 years to sign with MLS when he inked a Homegrown contract with Sporting Kansas City. Busio, who joined Sporting KC after moving from his home state of North Carolina in 2016, recently starred for the USA at the Concacaf U-15 Championship.

Busio scored five goals in five games as the USA finished runner-up to Mexico in the U-15 regional championship. He scored three goals when the U.S. U-15s won the Torneo Delle Nazioni in Italy in May. After arriving in Kansas City, where he lives with a host family, he played for Sporting's U-14, U16 and U-18 Development Academy teams.

"This is a dream come true, and I could not be more grateful," Busio said. "Since I was a kid, I always dreamed of being a professional soccer player, so I want to thank [head coach] Peter Vermes and the Sporting Kansas City organization for giving me this opportunity. From the day I arrived in Kansas City, they have made me feel like part of the family."

Pro signings:
Efrain Alvarez (LA Galaxy II)
George Bello (Atlanta United)
Gianluca Busio (Sporting KC)

Jesus Ferreira
(FC Dallas)
Azriel Gonzalez (Sounders FC 2)
Roberto Hategan (Sac Republic FC)
James Sands (NYCFC)

Previously, the youngest player to sign with MLS was Freddy Adu at 14 years old with D.C. United in 2004.

"Gianluca is a very talented player who has the opportunity to progress along our professional pathway from the Academy to the first team," said Vermes said. "He fits our style of play, has great vision on the field and can score goals from several different positions. As Gianluca continues to develop, the structure of our club will allow him to take steps toward his objective of playing at the top level for Sporting KC in the future."

Busio is Sporting KC's fifth Homegrown Player signing and the fourth on the current roster, joining Kevin Ellis, Erik Palmer-Brown and Daniel Salloi. Goalkeeper Jon Kempin, Kansas City's first Homegrown signing, is now with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

13 comments about "Sporting KC signs 15-year-old forward Gianluca Busio".
  1. Fire Paul Gardner Now, August 25, 2017 at noon

    If only we could Kumar's thoughts on this.

  2. don Lamb replied, August 25, 2017 at 3:33 p.m.

    He'll be back... unfortunately.

  3. Goal Goal, August 25, 2017 at 9:24 p.m.

    Not being familiar with the process with MLS clubs. What does it mean they signed him. I have seen him play and he is okay. But they aren't seriously considering him for their MLS team are they? Help me here.

  4. don Lamb replied, August 25, 2017 at 11:03 p.m.

    He's 15. They will not consider playing him with the first team until he has proven himself with Swope Park, which is their reserve team. They signed him, which means they have him under contract. Which means that he is earning a pay check, and which also means he is an asset of SKC's that they could potentially sell.

  5. Nick Daverese, August 26, 2017 at 1:05 a.m.

    I just hope they don't blank him up like another mls club did with Freddy Adu. I like his first name Gianluca Vialli was a favorite player of mine. But that was when he had hair :) now I remember him he used his foot on a goal he could have headed in I guess because he was playing with a broken nose.

    On reserve teams they are not as good as you would think. Has a reserve team every beaten an mls team? It was required that when you play in the first division you also had to have a reserve team.

    I played on an adult team at 15 in friendly games. I played in games that mattered when I was 16. When the coach had more confidence in me. That was just a semi pro team.

  6. don Lamb replied, August 26, 2017 at 8:34 a.m.

    The landscape is completely different from when Adu came through. Swope Park plays in USL, which is a legitimate league. USL teams do compete with and occasionally beat MLS teams. He'll be playing against adults, some of whom have been internationals for their country, some of whom have been MLS players, and many of whom are youth prospects like him. He'll be playing some weeks in front of 10 or 20 thousand people. Keep in mind that he still has not reached that level yet though. The thing about MLS and the academy teams and USL teams is that it provides this progressive pathway where a player can grow and challenge himself as he develops from amateur to professional. No offense, but Gianluca's situation is far more evolved than anything you ever experienced.

  7. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, August 26, 2017 at 10:05 a.m.

    I think what's important is that now we have the infrastructure in place to properly develop players like this. In the past, this guy would be playing ODP or high school soccer, then college and seven years from now we'd see him maybe in MLS.

  8. Nick Daverese, August 26, 2017 at 11:47 a.m.

    Thank you Don I hope your right. I would love to see every player do well and learn in the process.

  9. don Lamb replied, August 26, 2017 at 10 p.m.

    The standard of play still has a ways to go across each of these platforms, but, as Fire says, the pathway is there for the most part. Hopefully in a few years, it will an adequate development path for even the world class player.

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, August 28, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.

    As long as the money is in European clubs, they will continue to buy the best 18 year old prospects from around the world. Some day MLS might be economically challenging the European clubs, but it would be folly to spend that kind of money now.

  11. frank schoon replied, August 28, 2017 at 10 a.m.

    Haven't seen this kid play, so I can't make a judgment on him. But 15 years old, come on. By the looks of him, his build ,he's going to need a good dose of technical expertise, and play savviness to survive out there.

  12. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, August 28, 2017 at 10:40 a.m.

    Sounds like you've already made a judgment frankie.

  13. don Lamb replied, August 28, 2017 at 5:15 p.m.

    Frank - He's very technical and savvy. Definitely the strengths of his game. He's not a burner, and he obviously isn't a hulk.

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