By DAN KARELL
As good as Sporting Kansas City are right now, they are heavily invested in their future.
Last season, centerback Matt Besler signed a new contract, and already this season, both head coach Peter Vermes and midfielder Graham Zusi have signed new long-term deals. On Friday, Sporting KC announced that they’ve signed their third homegrown player, a 16-year-old defender who is one of two players who are younger than Major League Soccer itself.
Erik Palmer-Brown, a U.S. Under-17 international, was signed by the Eastern Conference club this week and represents another look towards the future of the club. Palmer has been in the Sporting KC academy since he was a 13-year-old in 2009.
The 6 foot 1 inch defender attended the U.S. Soccer residency program this past Spring, featuring for the U-17s in summer tournaments in Japan and Azerbaijan. He will still be eligible to represent the Sporting KC development academy side.
Here are some more stories to check out around the league:
LONG ISLAND NATIVE GRELLA TRAINS WITH RED BULLS
There was a new player in New York Red Bulls training at Red Bull Arena on Friday.
According to reports from Harrison, NJ, Long Island native Mike Grella was the player in question, wearing the number six, formerly worn by Red Bulls defender Digão. Grella suffered through a tough season in terms of playing time last season with Scunthorpe United in England’s League One, starting just 10 times and making 15 other substitute appearances. The English club parted ways with the American forward at the end of May.
Grella was initially drafted by Toronto FC in 2009, but spurned MLS to move to England, joining Leeds United. Finding opportunities at the famed club hard to come by, Grella has since played for Carlisle United, Bury, Brentford, and the aforementioned Scunthorpe.
In May, Grella went on trail with D.C. United.
TFC ACQUIRES LEFT BACK DEPTH
Toronto FC hopes their latest acquisition will help shore up the season-long defensive struggles.
The club announced on Thursday afternoon the signing of Swiss defender Jonas Elmer from FC Winterthur in the Swiss Challenge League, the second division in Switzerland. Per team and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Elmer, a former Chelsea youth player, has bounced around from club to club in the last few seasons, playing with FC Sion for two seasons before a loan move to AC Bellinzola in 2012 and a permanent transfer to Winterthur this past winter.
The 25-year-old left back had already played three times for Winterthur in the young season. He’s also made eight appearances in the past for the Swiss Under-21s.
SAPONG LOANED BACK TO ORLANDO CITY
With matches coming on Saturday and Sunday, Orlando City SC have been given a huge boost by their MLS affiliated club, Sporting Kansas City.
Sporting KC have sent forward C.J. Sapong on loan for the two matches this weekend, with Sapong expected back on Monday ahead of the MLS side’s upcoming CONCACAF Champions League matches.
It’s the second time this season that Sapong has moved on loan to the USL Pro club in Orlando, Florida.
UNION SIGN BRAZILIAN MIDFIELDER
With just a few days left before the end of the MLS summer transfer window, the Philadelphia Union have taken advantage of a chance to bring on another South American talent.
The Union announced on Friday that they had signed a 24-year-old Brazilian named Gilberto. The midfielder will officially join the team upon receipt of his P-1 Visa, International Transfer Certificate, and the successful completion of his club medical.
Most recently, Gilberto played with Atletico Sorocaba in the Sao Paulo region of Brazil, making 16 appearances in the Paulista State Championship.
What do you think of these reports? Do you like the Palmer signing? Do you see Grella joining the Red Bulls? Where do you see Elmer fitting in at TFC? Do you see Sapong scoring this weekend? What do you think of the Union signing?
Share your thoughts below.