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Sporting KC inks pair of Swope Park Rangers to MLS contracts

Derrick Etienne (7) of the New York Red Bulls II scores a goal against Adrian Zendejas (95) of the Swope Park Rangers during the 2016 USL Championship on October 23, 2016, at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
Derrick Etienne (7) of the New York Red Bulls II scores a goal against Adrian Zendejas (95) of the Swope Park Rangers during the 2016 USL Championship on October 23, 2016, at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Special to the Star

For the first time in franchise history, a pair of players from Sporting Kansas City's development team are making the full-time leap to Major League Soccer.

Former Swope Park Rangers midfielder Tyler Pasher and goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas signed one-year contracts with Sporting KC, the club announced Friday. They are the first two Rangers players to ink MLS contracts, which include options for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons.

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"The excellent thing about this announcement is after only one year, the Swope Park Rangers have proven to be working in the manner in which we hoped," Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. "We were able to bring to bring Tyler and Adrian to Kansas City last year and get an extended look at how each player would fit in our system. We think both players are going to be good additions to our squad with the potential to be major contributors in the future."

Pasher and Zendejas were key contributors in the Rangers' inaugural seasons, which finished with a spot in the United Soccer League championship match.

Sporting Kansas City used Swope Park Rangers in matches last season, but only on a loan basis.

Pasher, 22, appeared in a CONCACAF Champions League match with Sporting KC. He started 26 games for the Rangers, contributing five goals and four assists including the postseason. He most often appeared as a left wing.

"I'm grateful for this opportunity, and I'm so eager to get started," Pasher said in a news release.

Zendajas, 21, joined the Rangers in the summer and started the team's final seven regular season matches before leading the playoff run. He had a 0.86 goals against average.

"I'm excited to keep working, learning and growing with the squad," Zendejas said. "I feel really comfortable in Kansas City and can't wait to see what the future holds."

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