(Aug. 1, 2019) — Sporting Kansas City has signed 27-year-old Portuguese left back Luis Martins, the club announced today.
Martins has signed a contract through 2021 with an option for 2022. He will occupy an international spot on Sporting’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 visa, joining the club during Major League Soccer’s Secondary Transfer Window.
Martins boasts eight years of professional experience, including stints in the top-flight Portuguese Primeira Liga and Spanish La Liga. On the international stage, the left back represented Portugal at the U-16 through U-21 levels from 2008-2014.
Born and raised in Lamego, Portugal, Martins developed as a youth player in the S.L. Benfica Academy and began his professional career with European giants S.L. Benfica in 2011. He earned his first-team debut with a start in the UEFA Champions League group stage, helping the side to a 1-1 draw against FC Basel on Nov. 2, 2011, before spending most of 2012 with Benfica B in the Portuguese second division.
Martins transferred to first-division club Gil Vicente in 2013 and amassed 40 Primeira Liga appearances over the next two years, spearheading the club’s improved defensive record from 54 goals allowed in 2012-13 to 37 the following season.
In September 2014, Martins swapped Portugal for Spain and signed with Granada CF in La Liga. His debut for the club came later that month when he featured against eventual UEFA Champions League winners FC Barcelona in the renowned Camp Nou. While with Granada, Martins was loaned to fellow Spanish side Osasuna in 2015-16 and to Portuguese outfit C.S. Maritimo from 2016-2018. His latter stay with Maritimo was highlighted by consecutive top-seven finishes in the Primeira Liga and four appearances in UEFA Europa League qualifying.
Martins spent the 2018-19 campaign with G.D. Chaves in the Portuguese top flight, where he played 20 matches in all competitions and scored one goal.
As a youth, Martins competed for the Portugal U-16s, U-17s and U-18s from 2008-2009. He then featured at the 2010 UEFA Under-19 Championship before helping Portugal to a second-place finish at the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia, starting three of four tournament appearances. He also started four qualifying matches for the 2015 UEFA Under-21 Championship, which ultimately saw Portugal fall to Sweden on penalty kicks in the final.
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) signs left back Luis Martins.
Pronunciation: LOU-eese mar-TEENS
Weight: 150 lbs.
Birthplace: Lamego, Portugal
Hometown: Lamego, Portugal
Previous club: G.D. Chaves (Portugal)