By NICHOLAS MURRAY – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, February 7, 2016
The Swope Park Rangers coaching staff welcomed players and trialists into training camp on Saturday as the club begins preparation for its inaugural season in the USL. With the players set to take to the field for the first time on Monday, the opening session provided a chance for everyone to get to know each other, and get an idea of how the week will play out as Marc Dos Santos looks to put the pieces together in his squad.
“We don’t want to get into too much detail or too much information because there were a lot academy players and players who are still trialists, so you just wanted to make sure they knew how the first week is going to work, and have an introduction of people, have an introduction of the club,” Dos Santos told SportingKC.com’s Jake Yadrich.”That’s pretty much what we did today.”
Dos Santos has been tasked with leading the squad after successful coaching stints in his native Canada with the Montreal Impact and Ottawa Fury FC. As part of Sporting Kansas City’s organization, Dos Santos has looked to build a team that can mirror the style of play the club’s MLS side has made its trademark.
“Age is a factor. You want to make sure you keep players who are around that 23, 24 years old to make sure they still have a good margin of progression, so they could still move to the first team,” Dos Santos said. “The second thing is you always look for the best player possible, but you have in your mind that the club was built – especially since Peter Vermes came in – with a certain model of play, a certain style of play, and we want [SPR] to be that mirror, so we have to make sure that we always have that in mind when we go after a player.”
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One of the players who embodies both of those elements is Kris Tyrpak, a 23-year-old forward who is coming off a successful season in the USL for the Austin Aztex. A former PDL Most Valuable Player, Tyrpak was excited when he got the opportunity to join the Rangers.
“It feels great,” he told Yadrich. “To be wanted always feels amazing, and hopefully I can earn their trust like they’ve seen me play in the past and do well for the Swope Park Rangers this season.”
Sporting Kansas City’s reputation also played a major role in Tyrpak’s decision. He’ll also have some familiar faces to lean on as he gets acclimated to his new surroundings, including his former teammate with Chivas USA, and current SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia.
“That was huge part of my decision to come here,” he said. “I’ve got a couple of friends on the team. I played with Tim Melia down at Chivas and he said it’s a great organization. As soon as I got signed here he sent me a text saying ‘you’re going to love it here, they run it different to any other place you’ve ever been.’ It had me excited.”
With preseason about to get underway, the excitement is building for Dos Santos and his players.
“I was telling my family this is going to be my 10th season in a professional level at different levels, and it’s the same excitement, the same passion, the same vision,” Dos Santos said. “I just want the people to be proud of this team.”