Sporting KC II signs Leo Christiano, Nati Clarke and Matthew Hudson to MLS NEXT Pro amateur contracts

Sporting Kansas City II announced today that the club has signed three players from the Sporting Kansas City Academy to MLS NEXT Pro amateur contracts: defender Leo Christiano, defender Nati Clarke and goaltender Matthew Hudson.

All three players have signed amateur contracts on a single-game basis, retain their NCAA eligibility, and will be available for selection on Sunday when Sporting Kansas City II opens the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro campaign with a visit to the 8 p.m. Colorado Rapids 2 CT matchup, the streamed live on Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass.

Christiano, a native of Buffalo, New York, joined Sporting KC Academy in 2019 and has represented Sporting at the U-12 through U-19 levels. The 16-year-old left-back can also play on the wing, having scored numerous goals during his time at Kansas City. Notably, Christiano was a member of the Sporting U-14 team that won the 2021 US National Youth Futsal Championship and subsequently helped the U-15 reach the 2021-22 MLS NEXT Cup playoffs.

Born in Ethiopia and raised in Topeka, Kansas, Clarke joined Sporting KC Academy in 2016. He has previously represented the United States at U-15 youth level, notably participating in the 2019 UEFA U-15 Development Tournament. He wore the captain’s armband in two games during the tournament, converting his penalty in a shoot-out against hosts Poland.

Clarke spent the 2020-21 MLS NEXT season with the Sporting KC U-15 before joining the U-17 ahead of the 2021-22 season. The 18-year-old signed his first amateur contract with Sporting KC II last July and started in five of nine MLS NEXT Pro games for the remainder of the season, finishing fifth on the team with 16 tackles.

Born in Nebraska and raised in Iowa, Hudson has signed an amateur contract with Sporting KC II for the second straight season. The 17-year-old goalkeeper has been with the Sporting KC Academy for over two years, representing the U-17 and U-19 teams. He also has preseason training experience with Sporting’s first team in Arizona, having competed alongside MLS pros Tim Melia, John Pulskamp and Kendall McIntosh.

Transaction: Sporting Kansas City II sign defenseman Leo Christiano, defenseman Nati Clarke and goaltender Matthew Hudson to MLS NEXT pro amateur contracts.

Leo Christian
Position: defender
Date of birth: 03/13/2007 (16 years old)
Height: 5-9
Weight: 165 pounds.
Hometown: Buffalo, New York
Place of birth: Buffalo, New York

Nati Clarke
Position: defender
Date of Birth: 01/29/2005 (18 years old)
Height: 5-6
Weight: 150 pounds.
Hometown: Topeka, Kansas
Place of birth: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Matthew Hudson
Position: Goalkeeper
Date of birth: 04/18/2005 (17 years old)
Height: 6-1
Weight: 180 pounds.
Hometown: Marion, Iowa
Place of Birth: Omaha, Nebraska

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