Sporting KC just announced via Twitter that the team and Brazilian top flight club Fluminense FC have agreed to a player loaning partnership. According to the news release, Fluminense will “loan at least one player per MLS season to Sporting Kansas City,” and potentially loan other players to Sporting’s USL Pro affiliate Oklahoma City Energy FC. In addition, Sporting KC will have the opportunity to loan players to Fluminense. The deal “runs through 2016,” according to the release.
Today is truly a monumental day for the club.
This agreement comes a few months after Sporting KC secured its starting right back Igor Juliao on a season-long loan from Fluminense. We’ve discussed his rather frustrating tenure thus far, but clearly Vermes and Co. didn’t hesitate at doing this sort of thing on a yearly basis. And who could blame him? Sporting KC has now established a pipeline into a history-rich club that belongs in the top division in a country that’s one of the world’s best at producing soccer talent. Familiar players produced by Fluminense’s youth academy include all-world talents Thiago Silva (PSG) and Marcelo (Real Madrid).
This is important because even though Sporting won’t be getting the creme de la creme from Fluminense, even the type of players that are typically are sent out on loans are head and shoulders above most of our domestic talent. Brazil is kind of good at producing soccer talents. Rumor has it, at least.
OK, cool. So Sporting and its OKC affiliate are loaned one player per year from a club in Brazil’s Serie A. What’s this all mean going forward?
It means a few things.
- Sporting Kansas City is now getting international recognition for its ability to develop talent. This is something that club CEO Robb Heineman stated when unveiling the DP contracts of Matt Besler and Graham Zusi. “This is one of the best clubs in the world from a development perspective,” he said on July 20. It’s kind of incredible that a Brazilian club–a country that’s renown for its ability to constantly pump out talent– is willing to let Sporting KC, an American club (!!!) to play a role in developing its players.
- This will be a legit partnership. This won’t be some marketing crap like the supposed deal between Chivas USA and Chivas Guadalajara. The terms are set in stone. And it sounds like something both teams are happy about. Fluminense President Peter Siemsen said “I believe our goals and communication are very well aligned. We could not be any more pleased with this association for our brand.” It’s a win-win. Both teams are able to establish pipelines into each others countries–one with up-and-coming potential, the other with established history. Sporting is promised at least one player of Brazilian quality per year, while the Brazilian side now has a team that it trusts and will loan off its players who would otherwise rot on the bench.
- Sporting KC is now the envy of MLS. No other teams have such a deal set up with a well-established club. This isn’t the first time such an agreement has been made between an MLS side and a well-known international side (see: Chivas). But it appears to be the first time that this is a true business partnership and not a marketing ploy. Fluminense appear to really want their players to hone their craft at SKC. Otherwise, they would’ve been vague about the terms of condition, and not agreed to at least one player per year.
All in all, it’s an exciting piece of a news heading into tonight’s match vs Houston Dynamo.