Sporting Kansas City announced the acquisition of 20-year-old winger Latif Blessing on Monday, via a transfer from Liberty Professionals FC of the Ghana Premier League.
Blessing's contract runs through 2019 with an option for 2020, and he will occupy an international spot on Sporting's roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 Visa.
"We have scouted Latif and been very impressed with what we've seen from him," SKC manager Peter Vermes said in a club release. "The great thing we love about him is that he is young, but with a lot of upside as evidence by his goal scoring record with his previous club.
"With every player you acquire, you always feel they have potential, but we also think he has a great attitude, and we think he has the ability to reach his potential with our club."
Born and raised in Accra, Ghana, Blessing was named the 2016 Ghana Premier League player of the year after leading the top flight with 17 goals in his first season on the senior team. He was also a finalist for the 2016 Ghanaian FA Cup most valuable player award, helping Liberty Professionals reach the semifinals of the knockout competition.
Blessing, a product of the Liberty Professionals youth academy, debuted for the first team on Feb. 28, 2016 and opened his scoring account with a game-winning goal against Inter Allies one week later. He caught fire during the month of April with five goals over a three-game span, recorded his first hat trick on July 27 vs. Sekondi Hasaacas and bagged another on Sept. 18 to help Liberty Professionals avoid relegation from the first division on the final matchday of 2016. The standout performance ensured his status as the GPL's “Goal King,” the award given to the league's top scorer.
Blessing received his first call-up to the Ghana national team in December, as a member of the Black Stars' 30-man provisional squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, but was not selected to the final roster.