Gianluca Busio wasn’t much of a known quantity on the national team level until December of 2015, when he earned his first YNT call-up to a U15 camp run by John Hackworth. At the time, Busio was a little-known midfielder/forward hybrid playing for out-of-the-way North Carolina Fusion in Greensboro.
From there, it’s been a quick climb from USYNT outsider to DA phenom with Sporting KC (which he joined at the start of the 2016-17 season) and U15 BNT centerpiece. We introduced you to Busio earlier this year after he hit a crazy free kick for Sporting KC’s U16 team. Since then, he was named to our DA Playoffs U16 Best XI and become an increasingly important cog for the youth national team.
So important, in fact, that he earned the starting center forward slot for this month’s CONCACAF U15 Championship. And he scored a goal in a 3-0 semifinal win over Panama that took that SKC free kick and amplified it by a factor of 100.
Look at this nonsense. It was his fifth goal in four games at this tournament.
This particular U15 team, which has a terrifyingly deep stable of technically able players, was thought to be led in first team prospects by a midfielder named Giovanni Reyna. He’s our No. 1 prospect in the 2021 class and arguably the most all-around talented player in the entire USYNT pipeline, let alone this particular team.
But that might be too simplistic a reading, and Busio is arguably right there alongside Reyna’s pro prospects. Which should excite Sporting KC a whole heck of a lot.
SKC is obviously no stranger to wooing players from outside their own bubble and finding creative ways to fold them into their setup. Current first team contributor Daniel Salloi is probably the best current example. Salloi was a foreign exchange student from Hungary in the KC area when, in 2014, SKC ID’d him and began folding him into their academy apparatus. He played the 2014/15 season with SKC and so earned himself Homegrown eligibility. Less than a year later, SKC signed him as a HG and he’s now getting first team minutes.
Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal, who was already being called the Malaysian Messi, signed a USL contract with Swope Park Rangers earlier this year. Kuzain had previously been with non-MLS youth club St. Louis Scott Gallagher, also the development home of USMNT mega-prospect Josh Sargent, before SKC swooped in in 2016. Kuzain will travel the preferred pathway for the majority of SKC’s kids: academy to SPL to MLS. As an added bonus, MLS rules allow USL affiliate minutes to count toward Homegrown status. So SKC is all to the good either way.
Busio will likely follow suit, if he doesn’t leap at the chance to go to Europe first. And this fact assuredly won’t placate SKC fans hoping to keep him home: Busio has an EU passport. He could leave any time for Europe, which likely bumps up SKC’s timeline if it does want to tie him down in the near term. As an enticement, that might also mean bypassing the USL team entirely and going directly to SKC proper. We’ll see on that.
As his recent performances can attest, you understand why they’d be so eager to do just that.