Sporting Kansas City signs former U.S. youth int’l Joya

Benji Joya (pictured) signed with Sporting Kansas City on September 15, 2016. (Photo: Mexsport)

KANSAS CITY, Kansas -- Sporting Kansas City announced Thursday the signing of midfielder Benji Joya

The 22-year-old joined Mexican power Santos in 2011, progressing quickly through the club's youth ranks and making his Liga MX debut in September 2012.

Santos Laguna loaned Joya to the Chicago Fire in 2014, where he started nine of 12 regular-season games. He scored a goal just one minute into his MLS debut on March 9, coming off the bench in a 3-2 loss at Chivas USA. Joya spent most of 2015 and 2016 on loan at Mexican Ascenso side Necaxa.

At the international level, Joya featured extensively for the United States under-20 national team. He captained the side to a second-place finish at the 2013 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship and was a member of the U.S. squad at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey.

Sporting KC was eliminated from 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League contention on Tuesday, when it dropped a 2-1 decision to the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps.