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Sporting Kansas City Acquires Rights to Defender/Midfielder Luke Sassano

December 15, 2010 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Sporting Kansas City News Release

(December 15, 2010) - Sporting Kansas City acquired the rights to defender/midfielder Luke Sassano on Wednesday in a trade with the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Galaxy receive the rights to defender Frankie Hejduk, who Kansas City selected with the eighth overall pick in Major League Soccer's Stage 2 Draft of the 2010 Re-Entry Process on Wednesday. Sporting Kansas City's two players eligible for selection, defender Jimmy Conrad and forward Josh Wolff, were taken with the first two picks of the draft by D.C. United and Chivas USA, respectively.

"Jimmy and Josh have each been an integral part of this team for a long time," Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes said. "We appreciate all of their contributions both on and off the field during their tenures, and wish each of them the best as they continue their careers."

Sassano, a 25-year-old defender/midfielder, was taken by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first round of Wednesday's Stage 2 Re-Entry Draft after having his option declined by New York, where he played the last three seasons. Sporting Kansas City subsequently acquired the rights to Sassano from the Galaxy in exchange for the rights to Frankie Hejduk, Kansas City's lone selection in the Stage 2 Re-Entry draft. Kansas City can now negotiate to sign Sassano for the 2011 season.

Sassano, drafted by the Red Bulls in the third round of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, played in 42 games, including postseason, for New York over the past three years. He made 22 appearances in his rookie season, including starts in all four postseason matches as the Red Bulls reached their first-ever MLS Cup in 2008. He then played in 17 games in 2009 and three games last year before suffering a season-ending ankle injury mid-season.

D.C. United selected Wolff first overall in the Stage 2 Draft and announced Wednesday that the club has reached an agreement to add the striker to their roster, effective immediately.

Wolff, 33, spent seven seasons in Kansas City, playing in 144 regular season games and recording 43 goals and 26 assists. Wolff ranks second on Sporting Kansas City's all-time goals scored chart and was a three-time team MVP (2004, 2005 and 2009) and two-time MLS All-Star (2002 and 2004). He was a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team, 2002 and 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup teams, and 2002 and 2006 U.S. FIFA World Cup squads.

Conrad, currently out of contract, was selected second by Chivas USA and must receive a genuine offer, as determined by the League, within seven days. If Conrad and Chivas USA do not come to terms, Chivas USA will hold the right of first refusal for him in MLS.

The 33-year-old centerback played eight seasons in Kansas City, appearing in 204 regular season games and tallying 13 goals and four assists. In addition to being named MLS Defender of the Year in 2005, Conrad was a four-time selection to the League's annual Best XI team and was voted to the MLS All-Star game in five consecutive seasons (2004-08). Conrad was the 2009 MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year, an honor he won four times at the team level, and he was also named 2008 Team MVP and a two-time winner for Team Defender of the Year. He was a member and former captain of the U.S. Men's National Team and represented the US at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, 2005 and 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cups and 2007 Copa America.

The Stage 2 Draft was held at 1 p.m. CT via teleconference with 11 of the 32 available players selected in the inaugural year of the Re-Entry Process. Two players were taken in the Stage 1 Draft held last Wednesday, including Sporting Kansas City defender Aaron Hohlbein.

More details on Major League Soccer's Re-Entry Process can be found online at .

Kansas City also announced Wednesday that the following players are currently on the roster for the 2011 season: Korede Aiyegbusi, Davy Arnaud, Stephane Auvray, Matt Besler, Omar Bravo, Teal Bunbury, Sunil Chhetri, Birahim Diop, Roger Espinoza, Jack Jewsbury, Kei Kamara, Nick Kounenakis, Eric Kronberg, Chance Myers, Jimmy Nielsen, Craig Rocastle, Ryan Smith, Shavar Thomas and Graham Zusi. The team is currently in the renegotiation process with defender Michael Harrington.

Please note: Sporting Kansas City is the new identity of Kansas City's Major League Soccer club, transforming the former Kansas City Wizards brand to reflect the long-term goals and innovative vision of the local Sporting Club ownership for providing premier professional sports experiences for its members in the Midwest. Sporting Kansas City is accepting initial payments for season tickets for the 2011 season, highlighted by the debut of former Chivas Guadalajara star and Mexico international Omar Bravo, and the opening of Kansas City's state-of-the-art soccer stadium next summer. Visit or call 888-4KC-GOAL to make an initial payment to reserve seats.

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