Gianluca Busio burst onto the scene in Sporting Kansas City’s 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo on August 4. In his first career start he was dangerous despite the physicality, and provided a wonderful flick assist to Diego Rubio. He became the third youngest player in MLS history to record an assist. Let’s get to know the second-youngest signing in MLS history.
Growing up in Greensboro
Busio was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. “Growing up playing soccer in Greensboro, it wasn’t that big of a sport,” Busio said. “But once I started playing in the academy for the North Carolina Fusion, that’s when everything got a little bit bigger.” Sporting KC, amongst plenty of others, courted Busio. But Kansas City convinced him. “I came to Kansas City to visit, it was the nicest place for me and I liked it the most.”
Sporting’s Residency Program
Since Busio is originally from North Carolina, he participates in Sporting KC’s Youth Residency Program. He lives with a host home, and is enrolled in school Kansas City. “It’s like having a second family away from home,” Busio said. “Being away from my family in Greensboro, it means a lot to me to have that family experience even though your’re not at home.”
Life as the “Little Brother”
Busio is clearly the youngest player in the Sporting KC Squad, almost 15 years younger than the oldest players on the roster. But he likes the dynamic. “I think it’s really cool that I can even be in the same locker room,” Busio said of some of his teammates. “To be teammates with them is crazy because I watched them on TV, watching the World Cups and stuff.” He says they treat him like a teammate, but it has a “little brother” feel to it.
While Busio might get treated like a little brother, he still is pretty close friends with some of the younger academy guys. He calls fellow Homegrown product, Jaylin Lindsey, his closest friend. “We’re both from North Carolina,” Busio said. “We’ve known each other through the academy years and the National Team. So I think I’ve just known him longer.”
Busio might call Lindsey his closest friend, but he and all the other young homegrowns provide a nice network of support for each other. “It’s great to have other guys that are going through the same stuff as you, so you’re not really going through it alone,” Busio said.
He continued, “It helps a lot when you have somebody going through the same stuff like school and all that stuff you’re going through. You can talk to them about it and you’re not always surrounded by guys that are ten years older than you. You have someone in that same age range that you can still be somewhat kids with.”
While he might be getting that “at home” feel with the Residency program, there is still nothing like his Mom’s cooking. His favorite food? Pasta with meat sauce. “But the one that my Mom makes is what I prefer. That and wings”
What does Busio turn on when he’s working out, or getting ready for a game? “Right now, probably Drake's new album, Travis Scott, and The Weeknd. That’s my top three right now.”
No KC BBQ?
The staple Kansas City food is barbeque. Low and slow with a good sauce is how it’s done. “I never really ate barbeque coming to Kansas,” Busio said. “Every once and a while, it’s good. But I don’t eat it that often.”
FIFA or Fortnite?
Teammate Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal is known as the FIFA King. And while FIFA is a popular choice for the squad at times, Busio considers it a backup option. ”Right now, I would say Fortnite, just because I play it more.”
Fluent in Spanish
Busio grew up in a Spanish immersion School in Greensboro. “From Kindergarten to fifth grade, every class was in Spanish,” Busio said. “My brother and sister went through it, but I haven’t really spoke it in a while. I haven’t really had to. So I’m a little rusty.”