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Sporting KC II Head Coach Benny Feilhaber Named MLS NEXT Pro Coach of the Month and Kamron Habibullah Named MLS NEXT Pro Player of the Month

May 1, 2024 - MLS NEXT Pro (MLS NEXT Pro)
Sporting Kansas City II News Release

A pair of Sporting Kansas City II members have earned themselves MLS NEXT Pro Monthly Awards for April as head coach Benny Feilhaber has been voted MLS NEXT Pro Coach of the Month and midfielder Kamron Habibullah has been named MLS NEXT Pro Player of the Month.

The editorial team, along with several league personnel, announcers and clubs voted on the top performers across the league during the month of April to declare Feilhaber the Coach of the Month and Habibullah Player of the Month. The voting process entailed performances taken from MLS NEXT Pro league matches from April 1 - April 30.

"These recognitions reflect the work of our entire staff," said Feilhaber. "We have a small group that gets a lot accomplished and it's a real testimony to the work that each staff member does in order to find this level of success. I'm very pleased with the direction our team has been going in. It feels like we've improved each and every game. The players are bought in and continue to work together and there's a very good vibe amongst our players and staff."

Feilhaber and Habibullah helped guide Sporting KC II to an undefeated April in which they boasted a record of 3-0-1, earning 10 points in four matches, tied for the most in the league. Habibullah tallied seven goals and one assist in those four matches, contributing massively to an SKC II offense that fired home 14 goals in four matches.

In his third year at the helm of Sporting KC II, Feilhaber has his group atop the Frontier Division two months into the season. The 2024 Sporting Legends inductee has the team firing on all cylinders with the most goals in the league and second best goal differential. In April, Feilhaber's side earned more points (10), scored more goals (14) and had the best goal differential (plus nine) of any team in MLS NEXT Pro.

The hot start comes off the heels of a solid 2023 season in which Feilhaber led Kansas City to the postseason for the first time in four years. Balancing a roster of talented Academy prospects, first-team loanees and second-team contracted players, the SKC II boss has the boys clicking a quarter of the way through the campaign.

Habibullah, a product of the Vancouver Whitecaps Academy, joined Sporting KC II in March a few weeks before the season opener against Houston. He found his footing in April, scoring seven goals and bagging an assist in four starts. The former Canadian Youth National Team player netted a pair of hat tricks in April, making him the first player in SKC II history with multiple hat tricks for the club.

"I'm really happy for Kam," said Feilhaber. "He earned this recognition for his performances this past month. He's been an integral part of our group and has adjusted very quickly to our team and playing style. I'm excited to continue to coach him and see his development grow with our group the rest of the year."

The midfielder came out firing, kicking off the month with a three-goal performance at Colorado Rapids 2 on April 7. After Habibullah scored the opener, SKC II fell behind 3-1 before the halftime whistle. He then trimmed the deficit before Beto Avila found both the equalizer and go-ahead goal. Habibullah then put the match on ice, securing his first of two hat tricks. The performance earned him MLS NEXT Pro Player of Matchweek 4 honors, the first of two weekly honors he would claim in April.

In SKC II's second match of the month they hosted Houston Dynamo 2 disposing of them in a 4-0 clean sheet outing at Children's Mercy Victory Field on April 14. Habibullah found the back of the net in the contest after Maouloune Goumballe got the hosts out on the front foot. In the penultimate match of the month SKC II jumped out in front of Supporters' Shield leaders Ventura County FC on the road. The California club leveled the match in second half stoppage time and took the extra point in an 11-round shootout.

Feilhaber and his squad returned to Rock Chalk Park and faced Minnesota United FC 2 on Sunday, April 28 to conclude the month. Hat-trick hero Habibullah struck again, burying a free kick in the second minute, burning the keeper again in the 20th and capping off his day with a sweet strike in the 76th in a 4-1 SKC II triumph. His second hat trick in four matches earned the Canadian his second MLS NEXT Pro Player of the Matchweek honor.

Led by Feilhaber and assistant coach Ike Opara, SKC II and Habibullah will be back in action on Sunday when they host undefeated North Texas SC at Rock Chalk Park. Tickets for the Clash of the Frontier Division Titans are on sale at Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT and the match can be watched on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

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