KANSAS CITY, Kan. (January 20, 2018)- Sporting KC have made plenty of changes in the during the offseason. The 2018 squad will have a new look, and some new pieces for fans to get to know.
Sporting KC Newcomers Savoring a New Challenge in their Career
As Sporting KC broke for pre-season in 2017, Dom Dwyer and Benny Feilhaber were known assets, with franchise leading faces that could be recognized by fans across Kansas City. Now they’re elsewhere.
In 2018, there will be some familiar faces, but some unknown quantities in key influential positions for the fans to get to know. Two of the higher profile additions, Khiry Shelton and Yohan Croizet, are ready for a new challenge.
The New Midfield Maestro
“It’s really big. It’s like a movie.” said Croizet when speaking on his initial experiences in Kansas City.
Yohan Croizet is a designated player addition for Sporting KC. He spent time in the Ligue 2 in France, as well as the first and second divisions of the Belgian league.
“My last club, in Belgium, we didn’t have a place like this,” Croizet said while looking up and pointing around the room. The interview was conducted in Sporting KC’s luxurious UMB Field Club. “It’s really nice to work in these conditions,” he added.
While some may take it as being awestruck at the bells and whistles that Sporting KC have, in person it comes across as genuine excitement for a new beginning in Kansas City.
Croizet’s most success of his career came a season or two ago, when playing for a different club than the one Sporting KC whisked him away from. He posted nine goals and four assists in his best season (2015/2016). In that season, he played mainly as an attacking midfielder. When he transferred to his previous club, he ended up playing a lot more on the right wing.
“I prefer to play behind the striker, but a lot of the games I played on the right side, which is not really my position. I can show my good technique and skill better behind the striker. It’s just better for me.”
Benny Feilhaber’s trade might have been good news for him, as clearly he becomes the top choice in that position on the depth chart, with no clear solution there on the roster outside of him. But Croizet isn’t the only one excited about a fresh start.
New Beginnings for a Young Talent
Khiry Shelton was acquired in a trade a few days after the expansion draft. After having a decent season in 2016 with NYCFC, his production, and playing time regressed in 2017. Still, it was hard for him at first to leave the only club he had known.
“It’s tough. That’s where I got drafted, and that felt like home to me,” said Shelton. “But at the same time, it’s my career. And I honestly thought that I needed a different challenge.”
His versatility makes him likely a backup across the entire front four of Sporting’s system.
“I think I’m a very versatile player. I can play on the wing, I can play in the ‘10’ position, I can play a ‘number 9’. I’m just versatile.”
It can be assumed that Daniel Salloi and Gerso would be first choice options, and Shelton will be used to fill in when the squad needs rotated. But with Sporting KC’s approach to taking all competitions seriously, Shelton will get plenty enough time.
“I have been given an opportunity here to showcase myself, maybe even more. So I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead.”
A Stamp of Approval From the Core
The early returns on what they can bring to the table are good, according to the returning core.
“We’ve gotten to play a couple times, just some pickup type things, and I’m excited with what they bring to the table,” said Seth Sinovic. “They’re going to be very exciting players from what I’ve seen.”
Despite some of the losses, Sinovic still thinks this team is going to be good thanks to the new additions. “I thought we were a really strong team last year, and for whatever reason we took a dip at the end,” said Sinovic.
“But we added a few pieces and brought back a lot of the same pieces so we’re excited with the group that we’ve got here.”