Former Roughrider Returns to Major League Soccer
After a two-year stint with Wigan Athletic in England and leading that club to an Football Association title in 2013, former Yavapai College (2005, 2006) midfielder Roger Espinoza announced last week it was time to move on to the next chapter in his career.
As it turns out, it was simply time to move back to the place where his professional story began — Kansas City.
Sporting Kansas City announced today it has signed Espinoza to a new contract, rekindling a relationship that began in 2008, when the club drafted Espinoza 11th overall in the MLS SuperDraft.
The initial stay in Kansas City lasted five seasons — and included 113 appearances in MLS play — before Espinoza departed for Wigan after the 2012 season to test the international waters.
He was signed with Wigan through next summer, but the English club agreed to terminate his contract, allowing him to return to Kansas City without a transfer fee.
Sporting KC will certainly welcome him back with open arms. Coach Peter Vermes said he has maintained contact with Espinoza since he left for Wigan. A reunion became increasingly likely this summer as Wigan went through a series of changes on its coaching staff and Espinoza’s playing time wavered.
He will immediately step into his old role with Sporting KC — a gritty, box-to-box midfielder who can single-handedly set the tempo of a game. He scored twice during his first stint with Sporting KC.
He has also made 42 appearances with the Honduran national team and represented his country in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Espinoza joins two former Roughriders currently in the MLS for the upcoming 2015 season—Justin Meram (Yavapai 2007, 2008) who recently signed an extension with the Columbus Crew and Alan Gordon (Yavapai 2000, 2001) who help lead the Los Angeles Galaxy to the MLS Championship last season.