KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Peterson Joseph hasn’t had a chance to make a name for himself in Major League Soccer yet, but the 21-year-old midfielder is already set in the nickname department.
Sporting Kansas City announced the signing of Joseph, known as the “Haitian Xavi,” on Thursday afternoon following an extended trial that dragged for almost two months as the club worked out the details of an agreement with Portuguese club SC Braga for the player’s rights.
“It was a long process because his formation rights were owned by Braga,” manager Peter Vermes said. “We got that settled and taken care of so now we have him under contract. I think he has some really good qualities. We wouldn’t have waited this long to sign him if we didn’t [think that]. He can have an impact on this team.”
Joseph, who has six senior caps for Haiti, will be added to Sporting’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 Visa and he will occupy an international roster spot.
Vermes said Kansas City didn’t pay a transfer fee for Joseph, who joined Braga’s academy in 2007 before being promoted to the first team then being loaned out to FC Vizela. But Sporting could owe future considerations to the Portuguese club should the player be transferred in the future.
"For me it is a change to come from Europe, obviously, but this is a step up in my career so I am happy to be able to provide my skills to the team and help the team score goals,” Joseph said in a statement. "I feel that my pace and my experience can hopefully help the team win a championship this year.”
Though he certainly isn’t a known commodity stateside, Joseph’s talents aren’t a complete mystery since he’s appeared in two reserve matches for Kansas City and played the final 45 minutes of Kansas City’s friendly with Newcastle United in late July.
He projects as a central midfield player and Vermes said the combination of Joseph’s age and technical ability — along with the athleticism to take advantage of it — is what made him such an attractive addition.
“He’s very composed and has an excellent first touch on the ball,” Vermes said. “He’s got a very good sense for the game in the middle of the midfield, but he can go both ways. He can attack. He can defend. He’s got both. He’s also really good in tight spaces but sees the game long as well.”