Peterson Joseph turns down Sporting KC affiliate coaching offer to keep playing in Tanzania

Luis Gil and Peterson Joseph

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Former Sporting Kansas City midfielder Peterson Joseph turned down a youth coaching job and asked to terminate his MLS contract because he wanted to pursue an opportunity to play for Tanzanian club Azam FC, Sporting manager and technical director Peter Vermes said on Wednesday.

“He was under contract, because I exercised his option last year,” Vermes told reporters two days after Sporting announced that both sides had agreed to terminate Joseph's contract. “For him to be able to go there, he had to terminate his deal, which he did.”

Joseph, 24, had not been trained or played with SKC since passing out during a practice session for the second time last fall, with Sporting's medical staff unwilling to take a chance on the player's health. Vermes said Joseph declined repeated offers of a coaching job with one of Sporting's youth affiliate clubs.

“He wanted to keep playing,” Vermes said. “That's a choice that he made.”

Joseph has trained with Azam, the defending champions of the Tanzanian Premier League and current club of former Portland Timbers forward Brian Umony, but as of Thursday morning Joseph did not appear on the club's official roster.

Joseph, nicknamed the “Haitian Xavi” for his footwork and passing skills, arrived in Kansas City in September 2011 after playing in Portugal for 2nd-division side FC Vizela, where he had been on loan from Primeira Liga club SC Braga.

He had one assist in 36 MLS matches and made 42 appearances with two assists across all competitions, but Joseph also struggled with injury and missed part of the 2012 season after his mother passed away in Haiti.

Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.