In his fourth season as a homegrown defender for Sporting Kansas City, Kevin Ellis saw a career-high five starts in the opening six weeks of the season. His next appearance, however, will come in Oklahoma City.
Sporting KC announced Monday that it has loaned Ellis to OKC Energy FC, a move to get the 22-year-old defender more playing time.
“Kevin is at a point in his career for him to take the next step,” manager Peter Vermes said in a release. “Getting consistent games in Oklahoma will help provide this opportunity. We’ll be tracking his development closely.”
Ellis, a graduate of Oak Park High School, enjoyed a consistent run of play to begin this season, receiving the bulk of the playing time while Chance Myers nursed a groin injury. He scored the game-winning goal against Cruz Azul in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals series. But he has not appeared in a match since Myers returned to action two weeks ago.
Sporting KC also signed 19-year-old Brazilian defender Igor Julião earlier this month, and he quickly surpassed Ellis on the depth chart.
Ellis is the third Sporting KC player to receive the assignment to Oklahoma City, joining midfielder Christian Duke and goalkeeper Jon Kempin.
OKC Energy FC will play host to Orlando City SC on Saturday in its home opener at Pribil Stadium in Oklahoma City. The match will be streamed live on YouTube.