SportingKC · Gianluca Busio
At 15 years and 89 days, Gianluca Busio became the second-youngest player all-time to sign an MLS contract when he joined Sporting KC in August 2017. Busio earned his club debut at 16 years and nine days old, playing the full 90 minutes in a 2-0 U.S. Open Cup win at Real Salt Lake, before landing his MLS debut against FC Dallas on July 28. In a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo on Aug. 4, Busio became the third-youngest player to start a match in league history and the second-youngest to record an assist at 16 years and 68 days, setting up Diego Rubio's goal in the 74th minute. In a 4-1 victory at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Oct. 17, Busio became the second-youngest goal scorer in MLS history.
2020: MLS regular season: Started 15 of 19 appearances appearances, recording one goal and three assists (1,275 minutes played). Scored a brilliant long-range equalizer in a 1-1 draw at the Colorado Rapids on Aug. 29. Assisted Johnny Russell's second goal in a 3-2 loss to FC Dallas on Sept. 19. At age 18, became the second-youngest player during the MLS Opta era (since 2010) to record two assists in a match by setting up both of Alan Pulido's goals in a 2-1 victory at the Houston Dynamo on Oct. 3. MLS is Back Tournament: Started two of five appearances (144 minutes played). Converted the winning penalty kick in a 3-1 shootout win over Vancouver following a scoreless draw in the Round of 16 on July 26. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started two matches and recorded one goal and one assist (153 minutes played). Played 97 minutes in the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Nov. 22, becoming the youngest player in MLS playoff history to score a goal and record an assist as Sporting defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 in a penalty shootout following a 3-3 draw. Played 56 minutes in a 3-0 loss to Minnesota United in the Western Conference Semifinals on Dec. 3.
2019: Started in the MLS Homegrown Game, helping the Homegrown team to a penalty shootout win over the Chivas de Guadalajara U-20s on July 30. MLS regular season: Started 10 of 22 appearances, scored three goals and recorded one assist (923 minutes played). At 16 years of age, he became the youngest player to start an MLS match in Children's Mercy Park history in Sporting's 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union on March 10. Became the youngest player to score an MLS goal in Children's Mercy Park history in a record-breaking 7-1 win over the Montreal Impact on March 30. Became the youngest player in MLS history to score in back-to-back regular season matches by providing the game-tying strike in a 1-1 draw at FC Cincinnati on April 7. Scored a dramatic late equalizer in a 2-2 draw against the New York Red Bulls on April 14, becoming the first player in club history to tally a game-tying goal in back-to-back regular season matches. Assisted Felipe Gutierrez's second goal in a loss at the LA Galaxy on Sept. 15. Concacaf Champions League: Made three substitute appearances (59 minutes played). Made his Champions League debut in a 2-1 quarterfinal first-leg defeat at Independiente on March 6, becoming the youngest player in club history to appear in a competitive international match. Open Cup: Played 30 minutes as a second-half substitute in a Fourth Round loss to Minnesota.
2018: MLS regular season: Started one of seven appearances, recording one goal and one assist (153 minutes played). Earned his MLS debut as a second-half substitute against FC Dallas on July 28, becoming the youngest player in Sporting KC history to feature in an MLS match at 16 years and 61 days. In a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo on Aug. 4, Busio became the third-youngest player to start a match in league history and the second-youngest to record an assist at 16 years and 68 days, setting up Diego Rubio's goal in the 74th minute. Came off the bench in the second half to score in the 94th minute of a 4-1 victory at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Oct. 17, becoming the second-youngest goal scorer in MLS history. Open Cup: Started and played 90 minutes in a 2-0 fourth-round win over Real Salt Lake on June 6, becoming the youngest player in Sporting KC history to feature in a competitive match at 16 years and nine days. MLS Cup Playoffs: Did not feature.
2017: MLS regular season: Did not feature.
Busio starred for the Sporting Kansas City Academy during the 2016-17 season as one of the United States’ top youth prospects for his age. The versatile forward played three matches for the Sporting KC U-14s before stepping up to the U-16 level, where he scored nine goals in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and earned Central Conference Best XI honors.
At the international level, Busio has blossomed as a key contributor for the United States U-17 Men’s National Team. He and teammate Tyler Freeman joined the U.S. U-17s for the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, from May 2-16. Busio starred at the tournament, recording five goals and three assists in six appearances, to earn Concacaf U-17 Championship Best XI honors while leading the Americans to a second-place finish.
He guided the U.S. U-15s to a second-place finish at the CONCACAF U-15 Championship in Bradenton, Florida, scoring a team-high five goals in five matches. He previously represented the U.S. U-15s in May at the Torneo Delle Nazioni in Italy, where he scored three goals as the Americans were crowned tournament champions.
Busio also earned playing time for the Sporting KC U-18s throughout 2016-17 — scoring in their regular season finale on June 3, 2017 — before leading the U-16s to their first appearance in the Development Academy quarterfinals. He tallied three goals during Sporting KC’s impressive postseason run from late June to mid-July.
Busio broke into the U.S. U-15 player pool in 2015 and helped the team win the 2016 International Festival of Futbol title last April in Rosario, Argentina. Two months later, he made three appearances for the U-15 BNT at an international tournament in Zagreb, Croatia.