Sporting Kansas City has signed 19-year-old midfielder Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal as a homegrown player.
Kuzain, a product of the Sporting KC Academy and the ninth homegrown player in club history, has signed an MLS contract through 2020 with options for 2021 and 2022.
“Kuzain is a player who has come through our Academy and developed at an incredible rate,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. “He has an excellent understanding of his role in our model of play, and there is no doubt in our mind that he is deserving of a shot at the next level. As someone with a great attitude and mentality, Kuzain exudes many of the core values we have as a club. He has a very bright future ahead of him.”
A holding midfielder, Kuzain becomes the first Sporting KC homegrown signing to progress from the Sporting KC Academy to the Swope Park Rangers to the senior team.
“I’m extremely excited and thankful for this opportunity with Sporting KC,” Kuzain said. “This is something that all young players want to experience. It’s great to be a part of everything at the club, knowing that I moved from the Academy to the Rangers and now get my chance with the first team. I’m not just representing myself, I’m representing all of the Academy coaches and staff.”
Born to Malaysian parents in Carbondale, Illinois, Kuzain spent several years with St. Louis Scott Gallagher Soccer Club before joining the Sporting Kansas City Academy in August 2016.
He signed an Academy contract with the Rangers later that month, allowing him to play for both SPR and the Academy while retaining his amateur status. The midfielder finished the 2016-17 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season with Central Conference Best XI honors, tallying four goals in 20 appearances for the Sporting KC U-18s.
Kuzain continued to develop in 2017 with the Swope Park Rangers, where he helped Sporting KC’s USL affiliate to a second straight Western Conference championship. He debuted for the club last March and signed his first professional contract with the club in July, ending the campaign with 13 games played. His 91.3-percent passing accuracy last season ranked first in the USL among players with at least five appearances.
Kuzain has started four of the Rangers’ first five matches this season, completing 90.8 percent of his passes. SPR is currently tied for first place in the USL’s Western Conference with a 3-1-1 record.
As a youth, Kuzain trained with the United States U-17 Men’s National Team in 2013 and 2014 as well as Dutch club Feyenoord in late 2015.
Major League Soccer established the homegrown player initiative in 2007, allowing teams to promote youth academy players to professional contracts. These players must meet homegrown player criteria, including participation in the club’s youth system and residence in the team’s Homegrown territory.
– Story from Sporting KC