KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Sporting Kansas City introduced their latest product to come through the academy pipeline in 18-year-old defender Kayden Pierre.
Pierre made his way through the tunnel of teammates, receiving a slap from each one. It’s a right of passage for each new player that joins the first team.
“Some of them were harder than others. Some of them were out to kill, I think,” Pierre said. “But it was easy, it wasn’t too bad.”
After moving down to Kansas City from Michigan to live with a host family when he was 14, Pierre becomes the fifth homegrown player to be called up to the first team in 2021.
“The group of guys, their all funny, they’re all easy to talk to and they made it easy for me to transition,” Pierre said. “There isn’t any divide between any of us. It just easy to make it comfortable.”
For manager Peter Vermes, the player pathway program is precisely working the way he wants it.
“We have kids that are coming through our pro player pathway that we think have talent and it’s kids that you think have potential,” Vermes said. “It doesn’t mean that they automatically are the players, they have to prove it everyday.”
Vermes said that when contract players like Pierre have to make the next step, there is no shortage of players to look toward for inspiration like Gianluca Busio.
“When he was 15, he just started grinding and now he’s a regular in the starting lineup,” Pierre said. “It just shows that if you put in the time and effort, you can get there.”
Pierre will be looking for his chance at playing time so he can try to make in impact like so many other homegrown players before him have.