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Kevin Ellis training with FC Dallas, trade with Sporting KC posssible

Though he’s under contract with Sporting Kansas City, defender Kevin Ellis is in preseason camp with FC Dallas.

FC Dallas revealed the somewhat unusual news on their website Monday, with head coach Oscar Pareja saying that the club will look “closely” at Ellis to see how the 26-year-old fits in their system.

The unusual situation was born out of a leave of absence mutually agreed upon by SKC and Ellis last September. Ellis hasn’t re-joined the team since taking his leave, with The Kansas City Star reporting in January that the team had received several inquiries from other clubs about his availability.

Dallas were one of the interested parties, and SKC agreed last week to let Ellis train in Texas, according to an FCD spokesperson. The spokesperson said Ellis will be with Dallas through the weekend, at which point the club will assess whether they want to try to work a trade with SKC for him. A SKC spokesperson told MLSsoccer.com that the club is looking to find a solution that works for Ellis and the team.   

“Kevin is providing us the opportunity to see him closely here and see how he fits into our system,” FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja told the club website, noting Ellis’ flexibility to play both in the middle and as a right back. “He’s someone who has experience already – being young still – who knows the league and knows the system. All of those things are a bonus for us to have someone who can come and give us that privilege to see him. We respect him, but at the same time we invited him to camp to see how things look for him and us.”

According to sources, it’s unlikely that Sporting’s asking price would be high for their former Homegrown defender, who has made just 19 regular season appearances since he started 26 games in 2015. Even a lower-round draft pick would be a decent return for SKC, who are mainly looking to open Ellis’ roster spot and get his guaranteed salary – he made $148,337 in 2017, according to the MLS Players’ Union – off their books. 

A Kansas City native, Ellis signed with SKC in February 2011. Capable of playing as a center back or a right back, he has five goals and five assists in 68 career regular season appearances. 

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