Sporting KC sign former Barca academy player Dovale

Antonio Rodriguez Dovale (AP)


Sporting Kansas City have locked in another former Barcelona youth product, announcing the signing of spanish midfielder Antonio ‘Toni’ Rodriguez Dovale Tuesday.

Dovale joins midfielder Oriol Rosell as players on Sporting KC’s roster who developed in part in Barcelona’s youth system.

“We are happy to be able to add a player of his quality to our roster,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said in a statement. “He can play multiple positions within our system and we hope that we can help him to adapt to our team and to Major League Soccer as quickly as possible.”

Dovale, 23, spent the last eight years within the Celta de Vigo system, including six years with the main squad in which he scored four goals in 67 appearances. In 2011, the midfielder went on a year-long loan to SD Huesca in Spain, but returned to Celta prior to the 2011-12 season where he helping the club earn promotion to LigaBBVA.

The Spaniard was converted to left back at Celta in 2013 after years at the midfield position. Dovale will occupy Sporting KC’s fifth of eight available international roster spots upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa.

“I am very excited to be in Kansas City,” Dovale said. “Sporting KC is a very ambitious and successful club and I look forward to helping them achieve their goals. My motivation is high to come here and improve as a player and help this club any way possible.”

Sporting KC was linked to Dovale late last week after Sporting Club chief executive officer Robb Heineman teased about a possible deal within Spain. The rumor mill picked up significant Monday, though, when Spanish media reported Dovale was in Kansas City, ready to sign with the team.

Sporting KC return to action Wednesday at home against Cruz Azul in leg one of the knockout round of the CONCACAF Champions League.


What do you think of Sporting KC signing Dovale? See him fitting in as well as Rosell? Think the club, in terms of MLS teams, has found an untapped market?

Share your thoughts below.


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40 Responses to Sporting KC sign former Barca academy player Dovale

  1. NASL to El Paso tx says:

    The only bad thing about bringing good talent who know how to play soccer to MLS, is that MLS players don’t play soccer but they push and run and don’t have no soccer skills.
    So when these type of players come to MLS, their skills are broken by dumb MLS players who push and run through like an 18 wheeler.
    We need referees who can read the game and punish the pushing and running like a bull. The more referees with good soccer eye ball, MLS will get better and those with talent will succeed and not be broken.
    Another fact, MLS coaches need to tell their players, play soccer and not kick ball.
    I was watching chivas USA vs Chicago fire, and in the second half chivas USA TRIED to play real soccer but god, Chicago fire was playing some rugby out there.
    And I think, chivas USA has the bed mid in MLS but with MLS crazy playing style, they will be broken.

    • JJ says:

      Don’t have no soccer skills…

    • slowleftarm says:

      I don’t think “running like a bull” is illegal. Generally though, MLS referring is awful.

    • Mueller says:

      I with you on this. I loved the refereeing this weekend because they called more fouls and gave out more cards for tactical fouls stopping counterattacks.

      If we want better soccer in MLS, referees need to punish the mistakes defenders make instead of being afraid to send them off for constant fouling and reckless challenges.

    • Steve says:

      I saw the chivas usa vs chicago game as well. Why there are teams that still use the kickball strategy is beyond me. With that aside, I think Dovale going to KC will be great for him because Vermes stresses a possessive style of play which should suit him well.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      There are certainly teams and individual players that leave something to be desired… are frustrating to watch. There are also others that give me plenty of reason for optimism… the league is developing at a rapid rate,. Even if your over-generalization that “MLS players don’t play soccer” were true…. how would bringing in good talent be a bad thing? Seems displacing bad with good is a pretty sound way to improve quality, yes?

      “And I think, chivas USA has the bed mid in MLS but with MLS crazy playing style, they will be broken.”

      I think you confuse style with substance or quality. If Chivas truly had the bed/best? midfield, they may be frustrated by MLS crazy playing style, but their quality would win out in the end. Plenty of examples of technical, keep the ball on the ground teams dissecting physical teams with pace and skill. Chivas may aspire to do that, but are far from the best or technically/physically able to execute their ambitions at this point.

    • Chodilicus says:

      Well, luckily for this guy, he is going to the team that is most guilty of what you are describing. The biggest cheap shot, thug in the league is his own teammate in Collin. That guy deserves about 3 yellow cards in every game I have ever seen him play. So the biggest risk to Dovale may be surviving practice with his own team.

      Other than that, I completely disagree with everything you said. There are a lot of very good creative players in MLS. For me, it is the officiating that limits the creativity, not the players. Guys like Morales at RSL just get destroyed week after week with poor challenges but the yellows are always handed out for stupid things like time wasting in the first half or kicking the ball away. The referring does not protect the creative players in MLS.

    • mouf says:

      his Barca youth brethren on the same team proves your statement false, but continue, this is hilarious

    • JJ Watt says:

      I’m sorry, you think Chivas has the best mid in the MLS?

  2. Gerard D. says:

    Any kid that was starting in a top four league prior to the age of 21 is a talent. He started for a La Liga side at age 18. If he came out of La Masia, he’s obviously got technical skills.

    Bravo to whomever runs scouting and acquisitions in SKC.

    • alabamafutbol says:

      +1, this is a nice piece of news for the MLS as a whole. Hope many more technically gifted young players follow suit

  3. ZTom says:

    So much for MLS being a league where USA kids can develop and thrive. I watched a few minutes (all I could take) of MLS Week #1 match Portland Sounders (think that’s their name) vs Phila Unions (my hometown). I didn’t see any recognizable Yanks, particularly for the Union’s team, they had a guy come off in the 1st half who sounded like Jemba Jemba or something like that.

    Here’s an article from Deadspin that sum’s it up pretty good:

    link to

    • Mueller says:

      You’re lost homie. Maurice Edu played great in the middle of Philly’s midfield with Jack Mac scoring the goal up top.

    • Gerard D. says:


      Maurice Edu? Jack McInerny? Austin Berry? Connor Casey? Sheanon Williams?

      There’s like 60+ USMNT caps in there.

    • Nic D "the TX 2 Stepper" says:

      He only came to post his link. That. Is All

    • MightyMouse says:

      Oh man – I totally missing the Portland Sounders-Phila Unions game this weekend?!?!?! I’d been looking forward to watching Jemba Jemba play all offseason…hopefully he didn’t come off injured. Maybe I’ll get lucky and he’ll play when the Unions play the Boston Red Bulls United this weekend!

    • KEEP says:

      You’re adorable.

    • AtléticoUnionCity says:

      Congrats for being TROLL of the Year with that comment, bobo.

      • Karim says:

        +1; ZTom xenophobia is out of control…being a “USA kid” doesn’t imply squat about how your name sounds. I have no idea who Jemba Jemba is or where he’s from, but for all I know its Columbus, OH or Ashville, NC.

    • mouf says:

      *ignores that there are limitations on number of foreign players on each roster*

      good take, you seem intelligent

  4. Neruda says:

    Do you drift between our world and an alternate reality where Philadelphia is shortened to Phila and Portland is the name of the city located on a large inland body of sea water called the puget sound? I wonder what they call Portland in this world?

  5. ZTom says:

    Union have no money so no wonder they employ a few Yanks in or around the minimum. 12 of the 25 players listed on their roster are foreign. The Union used 14 players, 6 foreign, 8 USA players.

    Portland used all 14 as well, but, get this fanboyz, only 2 were Yanks (Harrington & Jewsbury). Yo fanboyz runnin to Ives to ban me, 12 of 14 Timber’s players were foreign.

    Thsu, 18 of the 24 players in this match, were foreign. You got no argument, fanboyz. You lose again ha ha. One guy I had to look-up, he wasn’t listed on the Timber site:

    Maximiliano Nicolás Urruti Mussa (born 22 February 1991) is an Argentine footballer who currently plays for the Portland Timbers in Major League Soccer. Gentlemen, I rest my case!

    • ZTom says:

      18 of the 28, typo.

    • Drew11 says:

      One of those 18 foreigners was a 26 year old Ligue 1 captain who chose to leave France to play in the MLS. How about foreigners in the EPL? You can’t have it both ways, euro snob. US Soccer has arrived. Go find another hipster hobby.

      • ZTom says:

        Yo Drew, when it’s like 100 degrees out when MLS plays during the summer, leave your team scarf at home. It looks ridiculous to have scarves on in the middle of summer.

      • ZTom says:

        You talking bout this guy:
        Vincent Nogueira

        Says he weighs all of 140 lbs! He’ll get hacked to death this summer in the poorly officiated MLS. (hey, look, a reason to watch the Union)

        • Drew11 says:

          If your going to play concern troll you need to be more subtle. Nobody is buying your jive. Bye.

    • Mueller says:

      Why does them being foreign matter so much to you? Portland is supposed to field the best team they can. If they aren’t American so be it.

  6. ZTom says:

    Portland has 30 players listed, 18 foreign & 12 Yanks. Here are the Yanks. Evans is the lone Portland native:
    Steven Evans
    George Fochive
    Bryan Gallego
    Michael Harrington (28 year old)
    Jack Jewsbury (32 years old)
    Aaron Long
    Rauwshan McKenzie
    Michael Nanchoff
    Taylor Peay
    Jorge Villafaña
    Andrew Weber
    Ben Zemanski

    When Portland starts 11 of these 12, then I will watch MLS. Til then, it’s all yours, fanbois.

    • Drew11 says:

      Yeah, I am waiting on Zemanski also. LMAO. Go watch PDL if you want to see Zemanski types play kick ball.

    • Chodilicus says:

      So, ZTom, I am curious what league you do watch. Let me know so that I can break down for you how many of the players in that league are from the home country. Somehow, you believe it is some huge dis on MLS that there is a wide range of nationalities represented. What the hell does that have to do with anything? Why should it matter?

      Ouch, I feel so burned as an MLS fan that there are non-Americans on the teams. Now that you pointed it out, I will make sure not to watch anymore. I will also not watch the EPL anymore, because very few of them are British. I will not watch Barcelona or Real Madrid anymore either, not all locals.

      Somehow, I have been way off base this whole time thinking that the quality of soccer on the pitch should be my criteria for being a fan of the sport or league. Man was I off base. Thanks for setting me straight!

  7. Yournamehere says:

    @ZTom…. So you’re saying MLS is becoming like every other successful league in the world. Where there very few country men playing for the top teams? And the rest of the team is made up of internationals…I’m confused how is that bad?

  8. William the Terror says:

    ZTom appears to be suffering from an aneurysm or a small blood clot that is choking off the oxygen supply to his brain. Give it a few minutes and he will pass out and then pass away.