Sporting Kansas City coach and technical director Peter Vermes says he spent the last 18 months scouting Spanish midfielder Antonio Rodriguez Dovale in overseas competition. After only a few meetings, Vermes concluded that Dovale would supply an impact addition to the Sporting KC roster.
The deal finally struck Tuesday.
Sporting KC announced Tuesday that it has signed Dovale, who is commonly referred to as “Toni” by international soccer fans. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Dovale, 23, was most recently a member of Celta de Vigo, a Spanish club playing in La Liga, the top professional soccer division in Spain. He previously spent four years with the Barcelona youth club.
He participated in his first full training session with his new club Tuesday.
“It’s exciting and amazing to be here,” Dovale said. “I know it’s a championship team, a winning team. That means, for me, it’s more exciting to be a part of that family and fight to win championships. I think that’s an objective for every (soccer) player.”
Dovale will be added to the club’s roster after receipt of his international transfer certificate and P-1 visa, the club said. He will claim the fifth international roster spot.
After spending most of his career as a left winger, Dovale moved to left back this season with Celta de Vigo. He had two assists in 12 appearances, though he had not played in a match with the club since Nov. 30.
Vermes said he foresees Dovale contributing more to the team’s attack, at least initially.
“He’s a player we’ve had interest in because he has the ability to play multiple positions on our team,” Vermes said. “It was a good situation for us and I think for him, too. I think it’s something he’s wanted to do for quite some time.
“The timing is now right. It works out great because we’re just starting the season, so we’ll have the chance to build him up over the next so many weeks.”
Dovale said Sporting KC gave him the best fit in terms of style of play.
“I don’t know the MLS very (well), but I think Sporting Kansas City has a different way to play than many other teams in the league,” he said. “Because of my characteristics, I think I can help the team.”