Erik Palmer-Brown is leaving Kansas City in favor of the English Premier League.
Palmer-Brown, a Sporting Kansas City homegrown defender from Lee’s Summit, has decided to sign a multiyear contract with Manchester City.
He becomes the latest American heading overseas. The 20-year old center back has parlayed his form with the youth national team and in recent months with MLS side Sporting Kansas City into a move to a European giant.
Palmer-Brown is out of contract at the end of this year and would be leaving on a free transfer. Sporting KC would retain the MLS rights to Palmer-Brown if he ever returned to the league.
Sporting KC signed Palmer-Brown to a Home Grown contract when he was just 16. The Kansas City native has played just 16 games for SKC but has been kept busy with representing the U.S at the U-20 World Cup twice and U.S. youth matches. Palmer-Brown was the team captain for the U-20’s this year as well.
“He came to us and said there might be an opportunity. I said to him, ‘Look, if that’s what you want to do, then we’ll support you,’ ” Sporting KC coach and technical director Peter Vermes said. “He’s played out his contract. It’s happened with other guys. It’s just one of those situations.”
In past years, Sporting KC has turned down significant transfer offers for Palmer-Brown. Sporting KC will not receive a transfer fee when Palmer-Brown departs Kansas City, but the club will retain his MLS rights if he chooses to return to the league at a later date.
Palmer-Brown has been weighing potential overseas options for more than a month and had multiple clubs interested in him, a source said. He approached Sporting KC about those opportunities this summer.
Sporting KC countered with an offer, but it did not approach what he will likely receive from Manchester City, which presumably will loan him elsewhere in Europe for the immediate term.
“We believed we made him a very good offer in MLS,” Vermes said.
Palmer-Brown was on the bench for Sporting KC in its 1-1 draw with the Columbus Crew on Sunday afternoon. With Matt Besler and Ike Opara locked into the starting spots at center back, Palmer-Brown has been limited to four starts in MLS play this season, though he has drawn consistent compliments from the coaching staff after those appearances. Besler and Opara are both under contract for next season, as well.
In total, Palmer-Brown has made 18 appearances — 10 of them starts — since his MLS debut in 2014 made him the youngest player in league history to start a match at defender.