Sporting Kansas City has signed 15-year-old Shawnee resident Tyler Freeman as the newest addition to the club.
By signing with the club, he became the second-youngest player to sign in club history and the ninth-youngest to sign with a Major League Soccer club at 15 years and 266 days old.
“That itself has always been a dream of mine, to play in the stadium at Children’s Mercy Park every weekend, to have that opportunity,” Freeman said, “something I’m really looking forward to and really starting to just get out there and play.”
The young forward player, who signed his contract, which extends through 2022, last week, has been part of Sporting KC’s Homegrown Player initiative, which trains local talent to eventually play for the club professionally.
“This is an exciting day for Tyler Freeman, his family and for Sporting Kansas City,” said Peter Vermes, Sporting KC manager. “Our decision to sign Tyler demonstrates the investment we have made in our professional pathway, and it’s great to see a young attacking player take a big step forward at our club.”
Freeman said his family was “really excited” for his new contract with Sporting KC.
“They know how much work I’ve put in, how much, obviously, they’ve done for me,” he said. “And to see me finally succeed, (and take) this first step to the goals I want to accomplish, they’re really proud of me.”
A homegrown player from the Sporting KC Academy
Freeman entered the Sporting KC Academy in 2014 at age 11 and has represented his hometown club at the U-12 through U-19 levels, according to Sporting KC records.
“I never really looked back since,” Freeman said.
He is also competes with the United States youth national program, having competed for the U-14, U-16 and U-17 national teams over the past two years.
Freeman has been playing soccer since he was 5 years old and has watched Sporting KC matches as a spectator for years.
“It’s your hometown team, so you pretty much grow up watching them on TV, watching all the players that have come through,” he said. “Wanting to be in their shoes one day is every kid’s dream.”
In his decade-long career to date, Freeman also played in several local leagues, including the Heartland and Kansas Youth Soccer leagues.
“Everything you could play in, I pretty much played in,” Freeman said. “The OP soccer complex, at Swope, everywhere really. I grew up all in the system.”
Freeman is in his sophomore year in K12, an online education system. The club expects him to join the Sporting KC roster ahead of the 2019 season.