Sporting Kansas City made the first free agent signing in MLS history on Monday morning, when they announced that they inked former Montreal Impact wide midfielder Justin Mapp to a contract.
Mapp, 31, spent the last four years with the Montreal Impact, tying a career-high with eight assists in 2013 and 2014 before missing most of the 2015 season due to injury. The fourth overall pick in the 2002 SuperDraft, Mapp has 22 goals and 65 assists – third-most among active players in MLS – in 303 career regular season appearances.
"Adding an experienced player of Justin's caliber is a great start to our offseason," Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said in a club statement. "He fits very well into our model of play and brings a lot of qualities that will help us reach our goals next season."
Mapp spent his rookie season at D.C. United before moving to the Chicago Fire in 2003, helping the club make the playoffs six times before he was traded to the Philadelphia Union in July 2010. The 2006 Best XI selection spent one-and-a-half years with the Union before being picked up by Montreal in the Expansion Draft ahead of the 2012 season.
Mapp, who has eight career caps with the US national team, ranks second in Impact history with 21 MLS assists and fifth with 83 MLS regular season appearances.
MLS introduced free agency as part of the league’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement earlier this year. Players who are 28 or older and who have spent a minimum of eight years in the league are eligible for free agency if they're out of contract or had their option declined. Mapp was out of contract with Montreal, who extended him a new offer before he chose to sign with SKC.
"Sporting Kansas City has always been a team and organization I have respected, and now I am very happy to be a part of it and play in front of such passionate fans," Mapp said in the statement. "I am thankful and appreciative for my time at Montreal, and I'm looking forward to the 2016 season in Kansas City.”