SPORTING KC

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Sporting Kansas City selected University of New Mexico midfielder James Rogers (53rd overall) and University of Tulsa defender Tony Rocha (73rd overall) on Tuesday in the final two rounds of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.

The two college seniors join Sporting Kansas City’s three first-round picks – Connor Hallisey, Saad Abdul-Salaam and Amadou Dia – to complete the club’s 2015 draft class. In addition, Sporting Kansas City traded the team’s second-round pick to the Houston Dynamo in exchange for the rights to midfielder Servando Carrasco.

“James Rogers is a wide player who scored quite a few goals from that position. It will be interesting to see what he’s like and how he takes the next steps to this level,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. “In regards to Rocha, he played three different positions: left back, left winger and left-central midfielder. He’s a pretty versatile guy.”

Rogers, 21, was a member of the United States Under-20 Men’s National Team in 2012 after first representing the U.S. at the under-15 level in 2007. A native of Sierra Leone, Rogers moved to the United States at age 11 and competed for the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake academies prior to being recruited to the University of New Mexico.

He contributed 18 goals and 21 assists in 80 games for the Lobos over a four-year collegiate career. Most recently, he earned an invite to the MLS Player Combine and recorded the sixth-highest vertical jump among all participants.

Rocha, 21, was a four-year starter at the University of Tulsa where he recorded seven goals and 10 assists in 76 college appearances. After being named Conference USA Freshman of the Year in 2011, Rocha led the Golden Hurricane to three straight conference championship appearances. Tulsa earned automatic berths into the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and 2014 after winning conference championships in both Conference USA and the American Athletic Conference.

Rocha also spent three seasons with the Austin Aztex of the USL Premier Development League, winning a PDL title in 2013 and earning All-Southern Conference honors each of the last two years. As a youth, Rocha was a member of the United States Under-14 Boys’ National Team identification camp in 2006 alongside current U.S. Men’s National Team players Jon Kempin, Wil Trapp, Will Packwood and DeAndre Yedlin.

Sporting Kansas City will kick off the team’s 20th season on March 8 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., in a nationally televised match against the New York Red Bulls at 6 p.m. on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes.

Prior to the 2015 season, Sporting Kansas City will travel to Tucson, Ariz., for the team’s pre-season preparations (Jan. 25 through Feb. 10 and Feb. 15 through March 1).

- Story from Sporting Kansas City

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Claudio Bieler
Claudio Bieler

Sporting Kansas City announced on Tuesday that the club has mutually agreed to part ways with forward Claudio Bieler.

The 30-year-old contributed 16 goals and five assists in 54 appearances across all competition over the past two seasons.

“Claudio’s service here was a huge help, especially during our run to MLS Cup in 2013,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. “He was a professional since the moment he arrived and we are appreciative of his time in Kansas City. We wish him all the best.”

Bieler joined Sporting Kansas City prior to the 2013 season as a designated player. He was the team’s top scorer as he led all MLS newcomers with 10 goals during the regular season, the most by a designated player in team history.

He also became the fourth KC player all-time to score 10 goals in a debut season, and the first since Miklos Molnar in 2000, while also adding goals in the MLS Cup Playoffs and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

In 2014, Bieler scored twice in a 3-0 victory over Real Esteli FC in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League and recorded two goals during Major League Soccer’s regular season.

Sporting KC’s roster now has an available international roster spot and designated player spot.

- Story from Sporting KC

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Team picks three college seniors and acquires rights to Servando Carrasco

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Sporting Kansas City selected three college seniors on Thursday during the first round of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia: midfielder Connor Hallisey (No. 10 overall), defender Saad Abdul-Salaam (No. 12 overall) and defender Amadou Dia (No. 20 overall).

The club traded its second round selection (No. 30 overall) to the Houston Dynamo in exchange for the rights to midfielder Servando Carrasco.

“It’s always important that you’re constantly evolving who you are, so for us it’s really about the next generation of players,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. “We have time to develop them and help them with the transition. As long as they’re willing to work hard and listen, they’ll acclimate to our team in a quick and accelerated process.”

The 2015 MLS SuperDraft will conclude on Tuesday, Jan. 20, with the third and fourth rounds conducted via conference call. Sporting Kansas City currently holds two picks — No. 53 overall and No. 73 overall — in the remaining rounds.

Sporting Kansas City’s three first-round selections on Thursday marked the most in team history. Hallisey and Abdul-Salaam signed with Major League Soccer prior to the SuperDraft and will be automatically added to the team’s roster.

Hallisey, 21, is a former member of the United States Under-18 Men’s National Team and was a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist at the University of California after contributing nine goals and 12 assists as a senior in 2014. He also earned NSCAA Second Team All-American and All-Pac 12 First Team honors during a collegiate career in which he recorded 12 goals and 19 assists in 72 games over four years for the Bears.

“You always try and think about what it’s going to feel like when your name gets called. It’s an unbelievable feeling, indescribable really,” Hallisey said. “I’m so thankful to get to this point and for the opportunity that Sporting KC, Peter Vermes and the coaching staff, and the entire ownership group and organization are giving me.”

Abdul-Salaam, 23, was a top-10 performer at last week’s MLS Player Combine in both the 30-meter dash and vertical jump categories. He logged three goals and 12 assists in 54 games over three seasons at Akron, including a team-high six assists in 2014, and was an All-MAC First Team honoree.

“This is just an unbelievable day and definitely something I’ll never forget,” Abdul-Salaam said. “I’m glad to be in such a great place like Sporting Kansas City. I’m really looking forward to it and getting there to improve myself. I definitely think my style of play at Akron is going to translate to Sporting Kansas City. I’m fit and I’m ready to get there to play in front of that great fan base.”

Dia, 21, has represented the United States at the under-14, under-18 and under-20 levels and also holds dual citizenship in his native France. He appeared in 70 games during a four-year collegiate career at Clemson with four goals and six assists.

“I’m very excited to join the club and I can’t wait to get to Kansas City,” Dia said. “I will work as hard as I can to make an impact for the team. Wherever they put me on the field, I hope to make a difference.”

Carrasco, 26, is a four-veteran of Major League Soccer who has appeared in 60 MLS matches (including postseason) for the Seattle Sounders FC (2011-2013) and Houston Dynamo (2013-2014). Carrasco was a four-year starter at California, where he provided 13 goals and 13 assists in 73 appearances before being selected in the second round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.

Sporting Kansas City will kick off the team’s 20th season on March 8 at Sporting Park in a nationally-televised match against the New York Red Bulls at 6 p.m. CT on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes. Prior to the 2015 season, Sporting Kansas City will travel to Tucson, Ariz., for the team’s pre-season preparations.
- Story from Sporting KC

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