Sporting KC’s Contract Situations Post-Transfer Window

Last week, the second transfer window drew to a close when Sporting Kansas City made no last-minute moves after closing deals early in the window. They signed 22-year-old forward William Agada and 27-year-old midfielder/winger Erik Thommy. So far, both have looked like impactful signings. It’s not hard to imagine that they’ll be among the best summer window signatures of all time.

The roster isn’t technically ready yet, as teams can make signings until the roster freeze on September 2, 2022. But even if Sporting does take a step outside the window, it’s likely a homegrown player guaranteed at least a couple of seasons (Jake Davis and Felipe Hernandez are slightly more recent examples).

For that reason, it makes sense to break down who is out of contract after this season, who has at least one contract option year, and who is signed until at least 2023 (skip to the bottom of the story for the full chart). This will help set the stage for who will definitely be back and who may be gone in one of the longer off-seasons in the club’s recent history.

Outside the contract

The following players are out of contract after the season. That means they’re either eligible for free agency or have to go through one of the many MLS roster assignment processes like the Re-Entry Draft. Free agency is looser in 2023 as players now only need to be 24 and have five years of MLS service, up from 28/8 before. That makes someone like Daniel Salloi a free agent where he would have been more limited in the past.

Another note on unsigned players is that they can now sign contracts in other leagues. They only need to be six months away from losing their contract and we’re past that point.

Expiring offers: Tim Melia, Roger Espinoza, Daniel Salloi, Andreu Fontas, Felipe Hernandez

contract options

These players are not as free as the players above as they have contract options held by the team for at least the 2023 season. This means that the team could reject their option(s) and would then split (or go abroad) to one of the assignment options above. Usually these announcements come shortly after the season.

In short, these are deals that the team can back out of if they want to continue.

Option 2023 only: Graham Zusi, Cam Duke, Khiry Shelton, Kendall McIntosh, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin

Option 2023 & 2024: Kaveh Rad, Kortne Ford

So the team can easily move on from 12 of their 27 players, just letting the guys go or dismissing their options. And there’s a significant portion of the salaries that would be dumped, however none of the team’s designated players would be.

In addition, the club has the option to buy out a player by paying his contract and moving from him in the off-season, but they can only do that once per off-season and receive a payroll budget relief. That being said, if you don’t see a name above for a player you were hoping would be gone, they can trade, transfer, or end a deal with them. That probably means most of the 15 other guys will still be around in 2023.

Here is the full table of all 27 contract players with their age today.

End of 2022 Sporting KC contract options

player position status Joined Age process options
player position status Joined Age process options
Graham Zusi RB 01/15/2009 35 2022 2023
Tim Melia GC 12/23/2014 36 2022 none
Roger Espinoza MEDIUM 01/06/2015 35 2022 none
Daniel Salloi Lw HG 01/13/2016 26 2022 none
Johnny Russel RW DP 01/31/2018 32 2023 2024
Andre Fontas cb INT 08/08/2018 32 2022 none
Cameron Duke MEDIUM HG 07/18/2019 21 2022 2023
Felipe Hernandez MEDIUM HG 08/30/2019 24 2022 none
Khiry Shelton FWD 09.12.2019 29 2022 2023
Alan Pulido CF DP 12/10/2019 31 2023 none
Ozzie Cisneros MEDIUM HG 01/20/2020 18 2024 2025
Gadi somehow MEDIUM INT DP 01/23/2020 28 2023 none
John Pulskamp GC HG 02/24/2020 21 2025 2026
Kendall McIntosh GC 12/12/2020 28 2022 2023
Remy Walter MEDIUM 12/22/2020 27 2023 2024
Nicolas Isimat Mirin cb INT 03.02.2021 30 2022 2023
cave wheel cb HG 05.04.2021 21 2022 2023, 2024
Kayden-Pierre RB HG 04.05.2021 19 2024 2025
Jake Davis MEDIUM HG 08/19/2021 20 2023 2024
ben sweat LB 12/20/2021 30 2023 2024
Uri Rosell MEDIUM 12/21/21 30 2023 2024
Kortne Ford cb 01/14/22 26 2022 2023, 2024
Logan Ndembe LB INT-U22 01/14/22 22 2024 2025
Robert Voloder cb INT-U22 01/19/22 21 2024 2025
Marinos Tzionis FWD INT-U22 24.1.22 21 2024 2025
William Agada CF INT 06/23/22 22 2023 2024, 2025
Eric Thomas FWD/MEDIUM INT 06/23/22 27 2024 2025
INT = International Roster Slot. Teams get eight, barring one trade.
HG = self-made. Unlimited amount.
DP = Designated Player. Each team can have up to three.
U-22 = U-22 initiative player. Teams can have one of three depending on DP signings.

I would like to give special credit to Sporting KC who are very transparent about these moves. When researching players from other teams, clubs often do not provide this information, making it difficult to know what flexibility a club has. Hopefully the next step will be to see how each team has spent their allocated money to know how much space they can really work with.

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