The building of the Swope Park Rangers roster continued today with the signing of Kevin Oliveira. Oliveira comes from the Portuguese club, Benfica B, the reserve club for S.L. Benfica. The signing gives the impression that a great deal of the scouting that Sporting Kansas City (and by extension SPR) are doing is focused in Portugal.
Oliveira had spent this current season on loan at fellow Segunda Liga side, Sporting Clube da Covilhã (or Sporting Covilha). Oliveira has made nine appearances across all competitions and has contributed one goal on the season. Oliveira also scored twice in 2014 as a part of the Durban U-19s International Football Tournament.
“I’m very happy and excited to join the group of players and the club,” Oliveira said. “I think I can still grow a lot as a player and I could learn from people like Marc (Dos Santos) and Nikola (Popovic) that know about the culture I’m coming from – it will make my adaptation easier. I’m looking forward to being in Kansas City and joining the Swope Park Rangers.”
It appears the signing of Oliveira is the central midfield player that Sporting KC CEO, Robb Heineman, was referring to when he said a potential loan turned into an acquisition.
More from Reporting KC
It’s very interesting that Heineman was referring to a signing and I believe most of us assumed it was a signing for Sporting KC, not the Rangers. I can confirm while I was at practice and the scrimmages, a team official confirmed that players will be able to move back and forth freely. Obviously the team has to stay in roster compliance (28 player limit in MLS), but this should greatly benefit the teams that own USL clubs (like SKC).
“Having Kevin joining our club is important for what we are building,” Swope Park Rangers head coach Marc Dos Santos said. “Kevin is a young player with incredible potential. He’s a dynamic midfielder who works well both offensively and defensively and we want to provide him with the right environment to succeed in North America.”
This sounds like an exciting prospect and exactly the kind of player that could one day graduate to the senior team. Many of the prior USL signings seemed like they may just be holding spots on the roster, but the younger the signing, the more time to develop them into future stars. This could be a huge alternative to the SuperDraft.
Historically, Sporting have drafted very well (Matt Besler, Graham Zusi, Chance Myers, Dom Dwyer, etc.), so it will be interesting to see if they are ahead of the rest of the league with their USL team as they have been with the draft. These are exactly the things small market teams (Kansas City is the second smallest market in all of MLS) need to do to beat the powerhouse teams.
The Los Angeles Galaxy have done a great job of using LA Galaxy II, so lets hope Kansas City does the same with the Swope Park Rangers. We’ll leave you with some vitals from SportingKC.com.
Born: 6/8/1996 (19 years old)
Hometown: Sao Vicente, Cape Verde
Birthplace: Sao Vicente, Cape Verde
Citizenship: Cape Verde
Follow us on Twitter for all the latest.