(July 18, 2019) — Sporting Kansas City announced today that the club has signed 18-year-old midfielder Cameron Duke as a Homegrown Player. Duke has been added to the Sporting Kansas City roster, signing an MLS contract through 2022 with an option for 2023.
A native of Overland Park, Kansas, Duke becomes the 11th Homegrown Player in club history. He entered the Sporting Kansas City Academy in 2012, rising from the U-12 to the U-19 ranks, and has represented United States youth national teams at the U-14, U-15, U-16 and U-18 levels.
“Cam is someone I have known his entire life, and he has been in our system for several years,” Sporting Kansas City Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes said. “He has worked very hard to reach this goal, and we are glad to see that he has become a part of the Sporting Kansas City first team. He still has a lot left to accomplish, much like all the young players who transition from our Academy into the MLS roster. This is the next step in trying to make his professional dreams possible.”
Duke most recently helped the Sporting KC Academy U-19s reach the quarterfinals of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs last month in Oceanside, California. After the U-19s secured the No. 4 overall seed with a 16-4-3 regular-season record, Duke spearheaded a first-place finish in the group stage with a goal and an assist.
Duke is one of the most heralded players of the 2019 high school class. The versatile midfielder is the No. 1 prospect in the Heartland Region and the 20th-ranked player nationally at TopDrawerSoccer.com, having graduated from Blue Valley West High School in May.
Duke’s 2016-17 and 2017-18 Development Academy campaigns both culminated with postseason honors. He earned Central Conference Best XI accolades in 2017 alongside current Sporting teammate Gianluca Busio, leading the Sporting KC U-16s to their first-ever appearance in the Development Academy quarterfinals. Last summer, Duke was named the 2018 Central Conference Player of the Year after pacing the U-17s to a playoff berth with four goals in 19 league matches and also featuring for the U-19s.
On the international stage, Duke competed at several training camps with the United States U-14s and U-15s before guiding the U.S. U-16 Boys’ National Team to a third-place finish at the Val-de-Marne Tournament in France in October 2016. The following February, Duke joined the same team for a training camp in Buenos Aires, Argentina, highlighted by three friendlies against local clubs.
Duke earned his first of several calls to the U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team in November 2017 and competed at the inaugural Youth National Team Summit in January 2018. He featured for the U.S. U-18s in a pair of friendlies against the Costa Rica U-18s shortly after training with Sporting’s first team during the club’s 2018 preseason in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Duke is one of six Homegrown Players on Sporting’s current MLS roster, joining forward Daniel Salloi (2016), midfielder Gianluca Busio (2017), defender Jaylin Lindsey (2017), midfielder Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal (2018) and forward Tyler Freeman (2018). MLS established the Homegrown Player initiative in 2007, allowing teams to promote youth academy players to professional contracts. These players must meet Homegrown Player criteria, including participation in the club’s youth system and residence in the team’s Homegrown territory.
Duke becomes the third member of his immediate family to play soccer professionally. His father, Chris Duke, notably played for the Kansas City Comets (1989-1991) and Kansas City Attack (1992) of the Major Indoor Soccer League and National Professional Soccer League, respectively. His older brother, 28-year-old Christian Duke, began his professional career with Sporting Kansas City (2013-2014) and served as the Swope Park Rangers captain from 2016-2017, leading the club to consecutive USL Western Conference championships.
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) signs midfielder Cameron Duke as a Homegrown Player.
Born: 2/13/2001 (18 years old)
Weight: 135 lbs.
Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas
Birthplace: Overland Park, Kansas
All-Time Sporting KC Homegrown Players (11)
2010 – Goalkeeper Jon Kempin
2011 – Defender Kevin Ellis
2013 – Defender Erik Palmer-Brown
2016 – Forward Daniel Salloi *
2017 – Midfielder Gianluca Busio *
2017 – Defender Jaylin Lindsey *
2018 – Defender Matt Lewis
2018 – Forward Zach Wright
2018 – Midfielder Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal *
2018 – Forward Tyler Freeman *
2019 – Midfielder Cameron Duke *
* Denotes player on current Sporting KC roster