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Report: Sporting KC reject Juventus bid for U.S. U-18 defender Palmer-Brown

ErikPalmerBrownSportingKC1 (SportingKC)


One of the world’s biggest clubs has reportedly made a bid for an American defender.

Juventus, three-time defending Serie A champions, made a transfer offer worth $1 million for Sporting Kansas City Homegrown signing Erik Palmer-Brown, though Sporting KC rejected the offer, according to a report in Sports Illustrated. A source close to the situation told SBI that there is definite interest from abroad in the 16-year-old defender, though they didn’t confirm whether or not there had been a transfer bid.

Neither Sporting KC or Juventus have commented publicly on the report.

Palmer-Brown is already a member of Sporting KC’s first team training sessions and was recently called into U.S. Under-20 head coach Tab Ramos’ training camp after spending time with the Under-18s in Florida. The report states that Juventus scouts saw him playing and training with the U.S. youth national teams.


What do you think of this report? Excited that foreign clubs are interested in young Americans? Do you see Palmer-Brown playing a bigger role in Sporting KC’s first team next season? What does this say about our development system here in the U.S.?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. MLS has got to allow teams to sign home grown players without cap consideration. you develop a player the guy ought to be able to earn what a star athlete earns and the team should also benefit from developing the talent

    • Of course, but you need money to develop players and to properly scout and recruit. We are still not finding and retaining anywhere near the number of kids we should. Just look at Uvaldo Luna. You need money for that. It’s a bit of a balancing act, but IMO, if you’re offered a good deal for a sixteen year old defender that may very well never work out, you should probably take it. This league will grow in popularity with the addition of exciting offensive players, not defenders.

      • $1M is nothing to SKC owners, considering they just offered $40M for Michael Bradley. So no, this is about more than the money for SKC.

  2. WOW!

    i’m a big advocate for keeping talent in MLS but idk $1M; i would probably take that…

    maybe we give this kid 2-4 more years of low pressure (relatively speaking) environments at home in KC to grow up, find his position before he makes an even bigger transfer!

    i say low pressure; but now that the words Juventus, Europe and Million-Dollar Transfer were mentioned that’s all going to change! Best of Luck to him, hope to see him on the field sometime in the near future.

  3. I’m fairly certain that Juve could just go directly to Palmer-Brown with a contract w/out the transfer bid since minors can’t be held to contracts in the USA. So either Juve were kind enough to go to SKC first or Palmer-Brown/Parents believe his development is better served w/ SKC which isn’t a terrible idea since its his hometown.

    • “Palmer-Brown/Parents believe his development is better served w/ SKC which isn’t a terrible idea since its his hometown” <– thats gotta be it. good for him, glad we have quality clubs here in the US for this reason.

    • US employment law is not the same as FIFA law around player poaching.

      The kid has a professional contract so MLS owns his player card, which is what FIFA recognizes. At that point he cannot just choose to go to another team without the two agreeing on a transfer fee (see the Camilo-saga).

    • Thanks for the insight. I must have missed it in the article, but what did you guys have for dinner the other night at the Palmer-Brown household?

      • In much of the world it is true that a player gets a cut (usually 10%) of the transfer fee. Which means agents get a cut of that, which is I suspect one reason why agents might try to convince their clients to move around more than might be ideal.

        However, I’m pretty sure that MLS does not allow players to keep any of their transfer fee.

    • I agree with you. Especially with the fact he is a defender, typically they go for much less than attacking players. There is a much greater chance he doesn’t pan out than there is him becoming a superstar.

      • Yeah you said it RBNY.
        Does he mean he is actually valued very high, reason being if he was the same person but a forward, that 1 mill would be more like 3 to 5 mill?.
        and then people would be losing their collective minds that a domestic product could be valued so much by Juventus!,
        the same team Zidane, and many more legends of the game played for.

        Or it’s really no big deal he was offered a paltry million, and defenders have little value and never really amount to much etc.?.

        As for me, I feel it’s always groundbreaking and positive, particularly when historically great clubs such as Juventus, Arsenal, Man U, Bayern etc. have a real and honest interest in a native talent.

  4. I think the big road blocks in player development are being address by MLS and USSF. Those road blocks were, lack academies at the professional level, lack of a USSF player development curriculum and lack of playing time for young players. With USSF mandating their U.S. Soccer Development Academ clubs must play 10-11 months a year, plus USSF adding futsal to the player development curriculum, we are seeing better players. With the USL Pro and MLS relationship growing, more young players will be giving more playing time.

  5. Why, why, why, why…. Would they do that? Garber says the league is hemhorraging money. It’s an easy million. The odds of them getting more than that in a few years is very slim.

    • The question is, what is best for MLS. Keeping young talent,especially those from your academy which would make MLS better in the long term, or making a quick buck? For me it is developing young exciting talent for this league, not selling them.

      • its a young league. You take the $$ and put it back into development. The kid is going to leave after his current contract anyway.

      • Don’t know,looking to the future. However I never thought 3-4 years ago, that in 2013 a American born defender would get a DP contract. The question is how much will MLS change in 2-3 years, in a league that has shown a willingness to change.

      • But Erik Palmer Brown “IS” the youth development. He has been in the US development/SKC system since he was 11 (five years now)

        Everyone keeps saying “put $$ in youth development”. OK, we DID that for 5 years and now we have Erik. Now what?

        When do we start “harvesting” our investment in US youth for on -field results, vs. harvesting it for a quick buck so we can what, do it again in 5 years for another $1M?

    • “Garber says the league is hemhorraging money. It’s an easy million”

      Could you provide a reference? I thought he had recently said that things were stable, but that stability would eventually kill us.

      • He did say that in a recent interview with Grant Wahl. It really sounded like a smokescreen to help out with CBA negotiations to me. He said the league was still losing 100m a year, and only “one or two teams were profitable” league wide. Totally reeked of BS. Especially in light of the forbes reports on franchise values last year.

      • It’s BS. David K is right- CBA is on the horizon. The amount of $ that has been recently invested into MLS shows that even if the league really is hemorraging money, that there’s enough potential here to attract big money playas. That said, even if the league was bleeding money, a $1 million dollar transfer fee wouldn’t do anything to patch it up.

      • Only two profitable teams is hogwash. He himself has mentioned numerous profitable teams. A team in debt can still be profitable.

      • There are very few truly profitable professional sports franchises. Since only a few publish their books (packers, manU, basically the public ones) you can hide money in tons of places (what do you mean everyone in your family is on the payroll making seven figures?) franchise values, however, mean nothing for profit figures. You don’t make money owning a sports team, you make money selling a sports team.

    • Maybe the same reason Gil turned down signing with Arsenal? He’s only 16 for christ’s sake, he’s probably afraid to go that far away from home, or maybe his parents don’t want him to leave quite yet. And you have no idea how he’ll develop, perhaps he’ll be worth even more in a few years time.

    • 1- why would Juve bid that amount if the odds are that he doesn’t develop into a player worth more?

      2- SKC’s owners have more money than Juve’s and will continue to make more

      3- A million dollars doesn’t change the financial situation of MLS.

      4- Why should the league accept whatever is offered to them?

      • Juve bid $1m because they probably sign a handful just like him and play the odds one or two turn out.

    • Just speculation as I have no knowledge,but the kid’s family may have asked them to refuse. Going overseas at 16 to play is a very big decision for both the kid and the family. They may not be ready for that step at this point in time.

      • Possible. We will never know with the MLS’ “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” transparency policy. Anyone know if this kid is a fullback or a cb? I would think the former, since he must have pretty special tools to draw that kind of interest. Seems more likely he was getting up and down the flanks and impressing with his speed and ability on the ball rather than simply keeping things tidy in the box.

      • He has always been listed as a center back. Sporting loves home grown talent and Vermes has consistently produced one of the league’s top defenses. That would indicate he can recognize talent or develop it or both. For the young man: As one article put it…it must feel good to have Juve think enough of you to offer a million dollars for you at 16, but possibly better to have your hometown club think enough of you to turn Juve down.

    • You think $1M solves the money issues?

      And what does more for your league financially while also enhancing your reputation? $1M now for a 16-yo who might get lost in the shuffle at a top flight club’s development system, or $3M for an 19-yo with pro-experience who can fight for time with Juve’s first team? No way to prove that the second scenario will happen or that he won’t excel at Juve, but… worth the gamble in my eyes.

      • So, because $1M doesn’t solve all your issues, then you don’t do it? That doesn’t make sense. Hey, putting one serial killer in jail doesn’t solve all the crime problems, but it’s still something you have to do. If you’re losing as much money as Garber claims, then the league must commit themselves to good business practices. $1M is a nice chunk of change for a 16-year-old American defender. Most 16-year-old prospects never come close to living up to their potential. I don’t think you’ll get much more for him down the road even if he’s one of the few that pans out. There have only been 7 MLS transfer fees in the league’s history more than $3M.

      • As I said, it’s a gamble, but I don’t se how any of your points refute my rationale. Your approach is short sighted and ridiculous. You put a drop-in-the-bucket sum ahead of a young man’s future. You conflate stoping a serial killer with transfering a promising young soccer player. Your irrational points apparently stem from an irrational distrust of MLS, Garber, and, by extension, KC’s academy system. See the above posts regarding Vermes’ track record with less talented players. Then consider that this kid may in fact be very talented. Then consider that MLS will *never* grow and may even lose credibility among its young prospects if it makes a habit of dumping young’uns into foregin academies, likely against the wishes of their parents. Again, as I said, I have no prood. But my approach is far more rational than yours.

        Oh, and one miiiiiiiilllllion dollars ain’t sh*t to a sports league, Dr. Evil.

      • If you think $1M is nothing to MLS, you’re not paying attention. That’s more than a third of the ENTIRE CAP! You don’t understand my analogy? You’re either being lazy or you’re not too bright. It’s so simple. You claimed that MLS shouldn’t do the deal because $1M doesn’t solve all their financial problems. This is dumb. You can’t only sell players if the sum of money is so great that it solves all of their financial problems. That will never happen. Just like you don’t stop jailing criminals just because locking a few up doesn’t solve the crime problem. Hey, you know picking up my own trash doesn’t solve the litter problem, so I’m going to stop doing it. MLS needs to chip away and make smart business deals.

      • Smart business includes holding on to assets that you think are valuable. Especially when your connection to them goes much deeper than just finances, and you believe that not only will they be more valuable in the future, but also waiting for that future allows you to realize value in the interim.

      • They could send him to USL Pro, let him get some games and he will develop. It is no guarantee because you move to a European club, you will develop into some type of super star. If that was he case, Adu would be our version of Pele.

      • no its not, its simply stating that Vermes knows what he is doing. see Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Chance Meyers, Collin, and a year with Ike Opara.

        this particular player is starting from a spot with more potential

      • yeah, while i don’t really agree with browning’s first comment, i do agree with his reply.

        $1M for a 16-year-old (if true, of course) implies that there is potential to be world-class there. what are the “facts of reality” that show vermes can develop world-class (or even top-league) defenders?

      • Were the player less talented or was It Vermes.
        To argue that a player has a better shot at development in MLS than in Europe is just crazy. Especially if we’re talking about a defender and Italy.
        There is simply no argument there. NONE

      • “To argue that a player has a better shot at development in MLS than in Europe is just crazy.” How many players on this current USMNT, develop in Europe first? How many players have gone over to Europe, yet have never reach their full potential? The fact is, players that start in MLS first, have made more of an impact on the USMNT, the does that haven’t.

      • While people love saying how many players Europe develops, its BS. Why? because no one every ask, how many top youth prospects become failures. Youth Develop is not an exact science, potential doesn’t always equal success. Nor does playing in Europe,mean you will somehow become elite.

      • Reality says that he could easily get lost in the shuffle at Juventus- or anywhere in Italy. It’s good he’s staying with KC. Vermes will groom him well. Juve will get their chance again if they really want him.

      • How many clubs can develop better MF then Barcelona? Not even clubs like Man U, Chelseas …..ex can. That was a terrible example. While barcelona have many success stories, they also have how many failures. This comes with developing young talent, because while the club can guide a young player, it is up to the player to work hard, to reach his full potential.

      • Italy develops world class players. MLS develops MLS class players
        Vermes has developed exactly zero world class players. ZERO
        The US has more youth soccer players than any country in the world. No world class players as of yet.

      • Can’t argue with this logic. If it’s true then this is a bold move by SKC but they have the player under contract. I honestly don’t believe this rumor is true though. The player himself said that the SI article (he saw it today) was the first he heard of this offer.

      • Oh Browning… You see the name Juventus and immediately assume that they would provide the best environment for his development.

        There’s a lot more that plays into development than just the prestige of the club. This is a 16-year-old kid who is going to get much more attention and support in KC than he would in Turin. Plus, the chance to grow up closer to family and friends.

        At Juve, Palmer-Brown would be one of many teens signed by the club who are expected to sink or swim. Sure, that can push a player to develop and grow up quickly, but it can also be too much. It just depends on the player. For every John O’Brien, there is a Landon.

        Palmer-Brown could do a lot worse than to continue developing at SKC and get first-team mins (something he would not get at Juve for the next two years at least) and then move to Europe as a more mature and seasoned player.

        As for the notion that simply going to Europe makes you a better player, all you have to do is mention names like John Thorrington and Gus Kartes — two guys who moved to Europe as teens (Thorrington with ManU, Kartes with Olympiacos). They came back to the U.S. after a few years. As we all know now, Thorrington is a world class player and regular nat’l team member, and Kartes is looking at multiple offers from some of the world’s biggest clubs.

      • Italy had a system in place, MLS academies are how old? Not to mention, that MLS now have a mechanism in place, to increase players playing time. Playing time, increases the possibility of a player reaching his full potential. To your point that” Vermes has developed exactly zero world class players”. Which is true, however he has taken college talent and develop them to a point that they could contribute at the MNT level. Also Vermes nor any MLS coach, has had the ability to move players from the reserve team, to the first team.

    • A miilion bucks is not that much if he is as good as this article seems to suggest.

      KC probably thinks they can get more. 16 is not that you to Juve.. If he is the real deal he could be in their first team in two years and if that happens $1 million bucks will be nothing.

  6. CAP HIM!

    Okay, I’m kidding. Hopefully, this kid flies just under the radar for a while and really develops his potential. That probably doesn’t happen though.

    • Vermes has the track record, at least.

      Seth, cut by Revs, nearly quit soccer, is now a top 3 LB in MLS

      Besler, a solid player coming out of college, seen as a reach at 8 by a lot at pundits, is now (debatable etc.) the best defender on the national team.

      Chance Meyers, a drafted forward, is now with Jurgen as a right back.

      Ike Opara, Collin, etc..

      Under the radar is done, the OMG YOUNG AMERICAN PLAYER hype machine is turned on

      • Maybe for the newbs but I’ve been burned some many times on young American players not panning out I don’t pay attention anymore until they’re older and playing in MLS.

  7. Finally an American I can pin my Eurocentric aspirations on.
    I can’t wait to admonish him in 10 years when he decides to return at the benefit of MLS.

      • Probably more sardonic. An attempt to capture the sentiments of recent SBI posts in regards to USMNT development.
        Personally I hope he sticks around to 18-20 for personal development before over seas pinball. But maybe he’ll find stability and be the rock of WC 2018.
        Obviously Erik has the skill to impress and wish him the best,
        sans projection of personal desires.

      • Fair, thanks for correction I always forget the difference between them.

        Like you said, it’s all about him doing what’s best for his own life. Obviously the American system hasn’t done too poorly in his development so far.

  8. If he was good enough for Juventus to notice him then he obviously has the potential to be a good player provided he continues to develop with SKC.

    • Theoretically, unless he is hiding an EU passport under his pillow. He could do the Junior Flores deal of training camps & short stints, but that’s for 2 years. He could go over with him family, but that is viewed much more suspiciously by FIFA if he is under contract than just going into an academy.

      Thus, this deal seems odd unless they were going to buy him and then loan him in the US for the duration.


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