Orlando City SC, in cooperation with Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Sporting Kansas City, announced Thursday that four players from Sporting will join the Lions on permanent loan for the 2013 USL PRO season. The players, who will compete for starting roles immediately, include Forward Dom Dwyer, Midfielder Christian Duke, Defender Yann Songo’o and Goalkeeper Joe Kempin. They will be available for play in Orlando’s upcoming collegiate friendlies and the second leg of the I-4 Derby presented by United World Soccer against the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies on March 30.
“We are bringing players in who all want to be on the first team,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “We think that they are going to come in and immediately compete. It’s game on for everybody.“
The four Kansas City products will be on loan for the 2013 season, but can be recalled at any time for Sporting KC responsibilities throughout the year. The players coming to Orlando results from a partnership completed in January of 2013, with the Lions becoming the official USL PRO affiliate of Sporting KC for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
2012 MLS SuperDraft first round selection and Sporting’s No. 16 pick Dom Dwyer enhances the Orlando City frontline for the 2013 season. The striker played in nine Reserve League matches last year, scoring two goals for Kansas City. Dwyer’s first competitive minutes were in the club’s 3-2 win over the Lions in the 2012 version of the U.S. Open Cup. The Chuckfield, England, native spent time collegiately at the University of South Florida (USF), leading the Bulls with 16 goals and two assists in 21 games played.
Sporting KC Academy product and Midfielder Christian Duke adds to the already competitive midfield group that Orlando City currently fields. The Overland Park, KS, native has been a part of the Sporting KC Academy since June of 2007, attending Shawnee Mission South High School at the same time. Duke then attended the University of San Diego Toreros, becoming a consistent starter for the team. As a senior in 2012, the midfielder started all 23 matches for San Diego, earning All-West Coast Conference Second Team honors while leading the team to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.
Another Kansas City home grown product joins the Lions in 2013, with Goalkeeper Jon Kempin to fill the backup slot to Miguel Gallardo. Kempin was Sporting’s first-ever home grown Player signing back in 2010, making his professional debut the same season as backup to starter Eric Kronberg. Kempin, similar to Dwyer, played in the 3-2 U.S. Open Cup match win over Orlando City last season. The goalkeeper is an active member of the Under-20 and Under-23 National Team pools, being named to the 20-player roster for U20 training camp in Puebla, Mexico in January 2013.
The final addition to the 2013 squad includes Defender Yann Songo’o. Son of Cameroon National Team Goalkeeper Jacques Songo’o and brother to Portland Timbers Midfielder Frank Songo’o, Yann was signed to the Sporting side this past December. Songo’o represented Cameroon at the 2011 African Youth Championship in South Africa, helping his country reach the final and qualify for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Orlando continues preseason play against Florida Gulf Coast this Saturday, March 16, at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford, Fla. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. Admission is free to the complex for the friendly. For more information on everything Orlando City, visit Orlandocitysoccer.com.