18-Year-Old Sporting KC Academy Player Signs PRO Contract with USL Swope Park Rangers
Wilson Israel Harris is an American professional soccer player who plays for Swope Park Rangers in the United Soccer League. LA-born Harris signed his pro contract after playing for the Sporting Kansas City Academy.
Youth Soccer News: It is always exciting when a U.S. Soccer Development Academy product signs a professional soccer contract. This sheer fact lifts the hearts of so many aspiring youth soccer players who dream of becoming professionals.
Sporting Kansas City Academy product Wilson Harris is a new talent on the professional scene who proves that skill plus hard work and determination can lead to success.
The 5’11” teenage forward signed a full USL contract with the Swope Park Rangers in July. Harris was already familiar with the team after making six appearances with the USL team since joining the Rangers on an Academy contract earlier in March. The Sporting Kansas City Academy is well known for excelling at player development and pushing its talented players up to always provide challenging opportunities.
Last season, Harris led the Sporting Kansas City Academy U19 team with 18 goals in 17 league appearances.
Harris had played previously for Seattle Sounders FC on their U16 Academy team in 2016 and played for the Real So Cal for many seasons, joining the Southern California youth soccer club when he was ten years old.
What does Harris think of de-committing from college to sign a professional contract? We wanted to know.
Our Interview with Swope Park Rangers Wilson Harris
Diane Scavuzzo: When you came to Sporting KC, did you imagine you would be signing a USL contract just a month or two after graduating high school? As an 18-year-old?
Wilson Harris: No, but I have always wanted to become a professional soccer player.
I am very proud to be a young professional and play for Swope Park Rangers.
As the U.S. Soccer DA Sporting Kansas City season was ending, I knew I wanted to explore my options.
All I wanted was to play soccer but I was all set to go to college and become a collegiate player. Last Spring, I started to look at my options in Germany, France, and England; but I really wanted to see if Swope could be a possibility. I am very proud to continue with Sporting KC and to see how far I can take my dreams in Kansas City.
Diane Scavuzzo: What made you choose to de-commit from college? You can always go to college later ….
Wilson Harris: The choice was pretty tough. I was going back and forth, but eventually, I felt that college was not going to be the right fit for me. I’m a very independent person and I wanted my main focus to be purely on soccer and improving my performance — taking my game to the highest level possible.
Diane Scavuzzo: How did it feel to sign the USL Swope Park Rangers Contract?
Wilson Harris: It felt great — it’s been something I’ve been working towards this whole year. When we started negotiating the USL contract, I knew it was the right move for me to make.
I want to continue to grow and try to become the best I can be.
My goal is to sign eventually with Sporting’s first team.
Diane Scavuzzo: What advice would you like to share with youth soccer players who dream of becoming professional soccer players in the USA — and accomplishing this when they are just 18 years old?
Wilson Harris: As a young player, you should really focus on mastering your skills on the ball — everything from shooting, passing, dribbling, heading, juggling and using both feet.
It’s important to have fun with it but always push yourself to get better.
Keep the ball near you at all times around the house — it’ll just make you more and more comfortable on the ball.
It is crazy how beneficial technique training was and is for me still.
Young players shouldn’t be worried too much about the physical side of the game because that all will come eventually.
Wilson Harris also played on the U.S. Soccer Youth National Teams:
- U20 Men’s National Team call-up for camp in Florida and scrimmages in Honduras May 2018
- U-18 Men’s National Team call-up for Open Nordic Cup in Sweden – August 2015
- U-16 Boy’s National Team Training Camp in Florida – June 2015
- 2016/17: Selected to USSDA U-17/18 Western Conference Starting XI
- 2015/16: Selected to USSDA U-15/16 (1998-99) Western Conference Starting XI
Photo Credit: Diane Scavuzzo