Sporting Kansas City didn’t make a huge splash during the summer transfer window, but the club added two young players with international experience Friday.
Sporting KC announced the signing of Brendan Ruiz, 20, a California native who played the last two season with Figueirense FC in Brazil, and acquired Colombian midfielder Jimmy Medranda on loan from Deportivo Pereira.
“Both players have a lot of potential and a lot of talent,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. “Two young players, obviously, but players we’ll look to develop over the next couple years.”
Ruiz, who turned 20 on Tuesday, is a left-footed central defender from Cupertino, Calif. He turned pro after his junior year in high school and moved to Brazil, where he played primarily for Figueirense’s under-20 squad.
“He’s been training here for the last three weeks to a month and we thought he would be a great developmental player for us for the future, someone we could spend some time working on,” Vermes said.
Ruiz, a 6-foot-2 converted defensive midfielder, played for the De Anza Force of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy before moving to Brazil.
Still, playing in the MLS has been a dream for Ruiz.
“I grew up going to Quakes games,” Ruiz said. “Those two championships (in 2001 and 2003), I followed that team really closely and I just fell in love with the game. I knew right then I wanted to be a professional soccer player watching those guys.”
Now, he’s looking forward to learning from some of the best centerbacks in MLS, All-Star and Best XI performers Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin.
“And Ike (Opara) too, they’re all role models for me,” Ruiz said. “I get to ask them questions all the time. It’s great. Peter was a defender as well and they’re all here to help me out. It’s the perfect place for me to develop as a young player.”
Medranda’s loan is through December when Sporting KC can trigger an option to acquire the left-footed attacking midfielder on a full transfer during the January window.
“I’m very happy to be here because MLS is a growing league,” Medranda, who joined Deportivo Pereira’s youth program at age 12, said in a release from the club. “I’m excited to take advantage of this opportunity and to continue to develop as a player in Kansas City.”
Sporting KC also had been in talks to bring Jorge Claros, an attacking midfielder from Honduras, on board, but the deal broke down.
“We were close,” Vermes said.
Ultimately, Sporting KC couldn’t settle on terms with Claros’ Honduran club Motagua to finalize a transfer, though he could be an offseason target when the transfer window reopens in January.
“It’s a tough one to say,” Vermes said. “It depends on what the situation is and if someone else grabs our eye. It remains to be seen.”