The Swope Park Rangers made the first significant moves toward piecing together their 2017 roster Monday.
The Rangers announced that captain Christian Duke will return in 2017, along with Oumar Ballo, Amer Didic, Mark Anthony Gonzalez and Nansel Selbol. Ballo signed a new deal, pending United Soccer League approval, while the club exercised options for the remaining four players.
Midfielder Kevin Oliveira is already under contract next season with the Rangers, a development team for Sporting KC. The Rangers finished as runner-up in their inaugural USL season in 2016.
“All the players that we are bringing back are players (who) we think can eventually move up to Sporting Kansas City,” said Nikola Popovic, who is entering his first season as Swope Park’s head coach. “It only makes sense to keep players that can one day become first-team players, and all of them have the technical and tactical quality.”