Chhetri released by Sporting Kansas City

Updated: Feb 08, 2011, 13:01 PM IST

New Delhi: Sunil Chhetri has been released by Major League Soccer side Sporting Kansas City, shattering the Indian striker`s great American dream after playing just one official match and without being fielded in an MLS fixture.

Chhetri, who became only the second Indian footballer of post-Independence era to join a professional league side abroad - the first being Baichung Bhutia - when he signed for Sporting Kansas City in March last year, has not been picked for the 2011 season by the club.

"Sporting Kansas City did not pick up Sunil Chhetri`s option for 2011," Sporting Kansas City vice-president Communications Rob Thomson said.

Thomson did not give any reason for Chhetri`s release but American media reports suggest that coach Peter Vermes was not keen to continue with the Indian striker because of limit imposed on the number of international players in a team.

Sporting Kansas are set to lose one international player slot by the end of this year and apparently the club, which was earlier known as Kansas City Wizards, wants to replace Chhetri with another foreigner who can feature in the playing XI.

The future of Chhetri, who failed to break into Sporting Kansas City roster last year, had been in doubt ever since he was placed on the transfer list during the MLS Drafts last month as one of the nine unprotected players from the club.

Chhetri made only one official appearance for Sporting Kansas, starting in the team`s Lamer Hunt Open Cup qualifier against Colorado Rapids a month after his signing. He picked up a yellow card and was substituted at halftime as Sporting Kansas lost 1-2.

Chhetri`s other appearances were all in reserve friendlies though he played against top English Premier League side Manchester United for 21 minutes as a second-half substitute in July last year.

With Sporting Kansas releasing him, Chhetri is now without a club, though reports had claimed that Australian A-League side Perth Glory are interested in him.

Perth Glory Director of Football, Dave Mitchell, was in Doha last month and watched Chhetri play for India in the Asian Cup, but there seemed to be little progress on that front.

There is the option of Chhetri returning to his former club, I-League champions Dempo, but the officials of the Goan club said there was no plan to bring him back as of now.

Bureau Report