In March, when the Swope Park Rangers will begin their inaugural season, the reigning North American Soccer League coach of the year will be on their sideline. And a former Sporting Kansas City player will be in uniform.
The Rangers, Sporting KC’s new USL team announced last month, introduced Marc Dos Santos on Friday as the first head coach in team history, and it announced Christian Duke as its first player signing for the 2016 season.
Dos Santos, 38, led the Ottawa Fury to the NASL championship match earlier this month.
“I often need time to make an important decision, but I must say this was one of the easiest ones to make,” Dos Santos said. “... The vision that the club has with Swope Park Rangers, coupled with the city and the fans in Kansas City, definitely had an impact on my decision.”
Duke was with Sporting KC from 2013-2014, though he spent most of his time on loan with Orlando City and Oklahoma City, who also played in the USL. Orlando has since moved to MLS.
“Being here for two years before has given me tremendous experience, and I know what’s expected from the coaching staff and club as a whole,” Duke said.
The Rangers will play a 30-game schedule in their inaugural season next year, with their home matches taking place at Swope Park’s championship field.