South African midfielder joins SPR from the Pittsburgh Riverhounds
The Swope Park Rangers have signed midfielder Matshidiso Lebogang “Lebo” Moloto, the club announced on Monday. Moloto spent the last two seasons in the USL with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and will join the Rangers ahead of the 2017 season, pending USL and federation approval.
“I am very happy and thrilled to be a part of the Swope Park Rangers and Sporting Kansas City family,” Moloto said. “I just want to thank everyone who made this move possible. I can’t wait to represent my family and Kansas City, and I can’t wait for preseason to begin.”
“Lebo has very good vision and he’s a very technical player,” Swope Park Rangers head coach Nikola Popovic said. “He’ll be a very good addition for us and he has the quality to achieve a lot of success in this organization.”
Moloto, 26, joined the Pittsburgh Riverhounds ahead of the 2015 USL season and made 51 appearances for the club over two seasons, scoring seven goals and adding eight assists from midfield while helping the Riverhounds to a USL Cup Playoff berth in 2015. He scored his first goal for the club in a 2-1 victory over the Richmond Kickers on May 23, 2015 and earned USL Player of the Week honors on Sept. 22, 2015 after scoring in back-to-back games in Week 27.
Drafted 54th overall in the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft by Seattle Sounders FC, Moloto left preseason camp to finish his degree at Lindsey Wilson College. Moloto linked up with United FC of the National First Division in his native South Africa in 2014 before returning stateside with the Riverhounds a year later.
Moloto made 83 appearances in an impressive four-year college career at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky., notching 42 goals and 20 assists. He was named NAIA National Championship Most Outstanding Offensive Player as a freshman when the Blue Raiders won the National Championship in 2009.
Moloto was a NAIA All-American selection every year at Lindsey Wilson and scored the game-winner in overtime against Hastings College as the Blue Raiders won another National Championship in 2011 – culminating in NAIA National Championship MVP honors.
While at college, Moloto spent significant time in the USL Premier Development League with the Des Moines Menace in Iowa, tallying 11 goals and six assists in 34 appearances. He also represented South Africa at the Under-17 level in 2007 and 2008.