Gianluca Busio - Sporting KC - celebration

Long committed to their academy and giving in-house youth a chance, Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes is looking forward to preseason.

With a handful of SKC first team players departing, including the likes of Matt Besler, Gerso, Felipe Gutierrez and Erik Hurtado, the club have only made two key, senior additions in midfielder Remi Walter and defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin. They also added to their deep rank of homegrowns, signing another trio of academy standouts.

All the players, old and new, will have their chance to convince the coaching staff why they're deserving of a role in 2021.

“As we always do, you provide opportunities to players," head coach and sporting director Peter Vermes told media on a virtual press conference. "We’ll use a lot of this time to evaluate where we think we are. It provides opportunities to players. Will it be the same as the players who have been here before? No, they have to bring their own qualities, but the chances will come. It won’t be for a lack of opportunity, preseason is a place to impress."

US youth international Gianluca Busio is the club's most recognizable academy product, having broken into the first team in 2018, but there are plenty of talented youngsters behind him hoping to follow his footsteps. It's part of why SKC are holding off on making more senior signings at the moment, content with the majority of last year's core returning after topping the Western Conference. 

“We’re not in a major rush to all of a sudden sign a player," Vermes said. "I want to use some of the preseason to see who were are and where we are. If we need to make some improvements, we’re in a position to do that rather than just trying to sign someone quickly.”

Vermes also noted there's no big rush as MLS extended the Primary Transfer Window to June 1, after previously being slated to close about a month prior. The Secondary Transfer Window opens in early July as well. 

"I always go into preseason with an open mind, I try to go in without any preconceived notions," Vermes said. "I'm wide open for being surprised in a very positive way. There's some young players who will be moved around to different positions, they'll have a chance to impress. Hopefully they'll take advantage of those opportunities."