Sporting KC midfielder joins Honduras team for two friendly matches

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Jorge Claros joined the Honduras Men’s National Team for two upcoming friendlies, the club announced.

Honduras will play host to Venezuela on Feb. 4 at Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula before traveling for the away leg on Feb. 11 at Estadio Agustin Tovar in Barinas.

“I am always excited to play with Honduras,” Claros said. “These are very important matches as we prepare for our Gold Cup qualification matches against French Guyana in March.”

Honduras, No. 72 in the latest FIFA rankings, are set to play their first matches of 2015 and will do so under new manager Jorge Luis Pinto. The reigning CONCACAF Coach of the Year accepted the position in December after leading Costa Rica to the quarterfinals at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

The two international friendlies are the final two scheduled matches for Honduras before facing French Guyana on March 25 (away) and March 29 (home) in a play-in series for the final berth in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Venezuela, ranked No. 87 in the world, will continue preparations for this summer’s 2015 Copa America, in which they were drawn against South American heavyweights Brazil and Colombia in the group stage.

Claros, 29, played all three matches for Honduras at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and also represented his native country at the 2008 Summer Olympics. He most recently represented Honduras in October 2014 during friendlies against CONCACAF rivals Mexico and the United States.

Sporting Kansas City acquired Claros in July 2014 from Motagua of the Honduran Liga Nacional. He made eight MLS appearances (including postseason) and featured in all four of the club’s matches in the 2014/15 CONCACAF Champions League.
– Story from Sporting KC

Sporting KC signs Ellis, Carrasco

Sporting Kansas City announced the club has signed defender Kevin Ellis and midfielder Servando Carrasco.

“We’re excited to have Kevin and Servando under contract and with the team as we start our preseason training camp,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. Each of them has different qualities that will help bolster the squad, he added.

Ellis enters his fifth season with Sporting KC after a career year in 2014, making 27 appearances across all competitions for the club with one goal and three assists.

The 23-year-old right back scored the game-winning goal against Cruz Azul in the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions League and his two game-winning assists during the MLS regular season were tied with Graham Zusi for the team lead.

A Kansas City, Mo., native, Ellis became the team’s second Homegrown Player signing in 2011 as a product of the Sporting KC Academy and debuted during the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup before scoring in an international friendly against C.D. Guadalajara later that year.

He made his MLS debut in 2013 and also played a combined 10 games in the USL PRO while on loan with Orlando City SC (2013) and OKC Energy FC (2014) over the last two seasons.

During his four-year professional career, Ellis has been a member of Sporting Kansas City for the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title and 2013 MLS Cup championship in addition to his role in Orlando City’s 2013 season that culminated with a USL PRO championship.

“There is no place I would rather play than Kansas City,” Ellis said. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to play in front of my family and friends for the next few years and could not picture it any other way.”

Carrasco has made 60 appearances in four MLS seasons (including playoffs) with one goal and one assist from his defensive midfield position.

He began his career with Seattle Sounders FC, who won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup during his rookie season in 2011, and was traded to the Houston Dynamo during the 2013 campaign.

The 26-year-old was a second round pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of California, where he contributed 13 goals and 13 assists in 73 games during his collegiate career.

Carrasco was a three-time All-PAC 10 selection, earning first team honors as a senior in 2010 when he captained the Bears to a quarterfinal appearance in the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship.

Carrasco, who married U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan last month, holds dual citizenship in the United States and Mexico.

Sporting Kansas City acquired his rights from the Houston Dynamo during the 2015 MLS SuperDraft in exchange for the club’s second round selection.

“I’m really excited to become a part of this organization and I can’t wait to get started,” Carrasco said. “Having played against Kansas City over the years, two things instantly come to mind. One is the incredible support from the fan base and second is the style of play. It’s no secret that this is a team that wants to dictate the tempo of the game and it’s exciting to have the opportunity to learn the system and continue to grow as a player.”

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. For ticket information, visit SportingKC.com or call 888-4KC-GOAL.

– Story from Sporting KC

Sporting KC selects two more in draft

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