Sporting Kansas City announced a marquee signing Thursday, acquiring striker Dani Rojas on loan from 100% real English club AFC Richmond.
By landing the 25-year-old Mexican international, Sporting will also send a metric ton of Kansas City barbeque sauce to AFC Richmond manager and Kansas native Ted Lasso. MLSsoccer.com's own sources could not confirm if TAM was also part of the deal.
Temporarily losing Rojas could damage AFC Richmond’s hopes of climbing back into the Premier League, but Lasso understands that some things are bigger than soccer. The American football-turned-soccer coach feels a change of scenery could boost the former Tigres UANL star’s aspirations.
“Takin' on a challenge is a lot like ridin' a horse: if you're comfortable while you're doin' it, you're probably doin' it wrong,” Lasso, definitely not Jason Sudeikis, said in a release. “Dani is a spirited fella and we certainly can’t blame him for seeking a new challenge in Kansas City. That place is special and their barbeque is the best on the planet.”
Upon joining AFC Richmond in 2019, Rojas suffered a long-term injury that was attributed to a decades-long curse around the southwest-based London club. He eventually returned to fitness and was a key figure for AFC Richmond last season, but their efforts to avoid relegation ultimately fell short against Manchester City on the final matchday.
Told that he’d get to play under longtime Sporting head coach Peter Vermes, Rojas remained upbeat as ever. Vermes' intensity is quite different than Lasso’s happy-go-lucky outlook, but players respond to different styles.
“Football is life,” Rojas exclaimed with a beaming smile.
Rojas hopes to form an early partnership with compatriot Alan Pulido, his El Tri teammate and Sporting's No. 9. He reportedly looks up to other Mexican players in MLS, too, including the LA Galaxy’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernadez and LAFC’s Carlos Vela.
As for how many goals Rojas will score during the 2021 campaign? Tune into Sporting’s opener April 17 at the New York Red Bulls to see how that story begins.