Wizards ink home-grown player
The Kansas City Wizards announced Tuesday that they have signed goalkeeper Jon Kempin as the first home-grown player in club history.
The 17-year-old product of the Wizards Juniors youth developmental academy signed as a Generation Adidas player, becoming the youngest signing in team history and the first home-grown player to receive a professional contract from the club since the initiative’s inception in 2007.
“This is a great day for our organization,” Wizards coach Peter Vermes said. “We had the opportunity to identify a talented player in the area, bring him into the Juniors program and develop him to the point where we could sign him to a professional contract. Jon has incredible talent and now he has the opportunity to continue his development at a professional level and not have the pressure to perform on the field right away.”
Kempin, a Leawood resident, is an active member of the United States Under-18 National Team player pool, having twice been invited to the team’s training camps in 2010, and is considered one of the top young prospects at his position.
“This (is) a dream come true,” Kempin said. “It’s an exciting time for the Wizards organization and I feel blessed to be the team’s first Home Grown Player. I’m also really looking forward to learning under Jimmy Nielsen. He’s had a great season and he’s definitely one of the top keepers in Major League Soccer.”
Kempin worked his way through the top ranks of the youth soccer system in the United States while a member of the Kansas City Wizards Juniors youth system. In addition to being selected to state and regional teams within the Olympic Developmental Program, Kempin was chosen as one of four goalkeepers for the Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 semesters at the U.S. Soccer Under-17 Residency Program under head coach Wilmer Cabrera at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.