June 25, 2024

Former Sporting Kansas City star Gianluca Busio didn’t sport the team’s traditional blue kit during his last appearance at Children’s Mercy Park. It was 2021, and Busio, then a promising young player for Sporting KC, wore the white shirt and navy shorts of the U.S. Men’s National Team.

The U.S. won the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and shortly afterward, Busio set a record transfer fee for Sporting KC as he moved to Venezia FC. Now, after three years in Italy and recently turning 22, Busio is back in Kansas City to represent his country again, this time preparing for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

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The national team’s pre-Olympic camp and preparations are being held at the Compass Minerals National Performance Center in Kansas City, Kan. However, Busio won’t play in the USMNT U-23 match against Japan’s U-23s on Tuesday night due to an injury sustained in Venezia’s final game of the season, despite providing an assist that helped Venezia secure promotion back to Serie A.

Busio acknowledged that he didn’t recover properly from the injury in the days following the game. During halftime of Sporting KC’s 2-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders, he expressed his enjoyment of being back in Kansas City, staying with his close friend and current Sporting KC player Jake Davis.

Reflecting on his journey, Busio discussed how much he has grown since his early days with Sporting KC, particularly through the challenges of promotion and relegation in Italy. Joining Venezia at 19, Busio faced the harsh realities of professional soccer as Venezia struggled in Serie A and then fought to avoid further relegation in Serie B.

Surviving these challenges has contributed significantly to his personal and professional growth.

Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes, who has closely followed Busio’s career, believes that playing in a promotion/relegation environment has been immensely beneficial for Busio. Vermes praised Busio’s development and expressed pride in his progress.

Busio, who has Italian heritage from his father’s side, was excited to explore his roots while playing for Venezia. Now, with the Olympics approaching, he aims to fulfill another dream. He remembers watching the Olympics with his family and hopes to make his mom proud by becoming an Olympian.

Despite his current injury, Busio is expected to recover in a few weeks and is likely to be included in the final roster for Paris. Representing both Kansas City and his home state of North Carolina, Busio feels a strong connection to Kansas, acknowledging its role in his development.

Gianluca Busio | MLSsoccer.com

The U-23 national team’s match against Japan’s U-23 squad will take place at 7 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan.

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