Roger Espinoza to receive honorary All-America coaches award from United Soccer
United Soccer Coaches announced Monday that Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza and current Kansas City midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta have been shortlisted to receive the association’s 2021 Honorary All-America award. Espinoza and LaBonta will receive the award at the association’s All-America ceremony at 1:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, January 22 at the United Soccer Coaches Convention at the Kansas City Convention Center.
Espinoza and LaBonta tied the knot in October 2021 and live in Kansas City.
“I can’t think of a better pair for the association to be awarded as Honorary All-Americans for our 2022 United Soccer Coaches Convention in Kansas City,” said Geoff VanDeusen, new general manager of United Soccer Coaches . “Roger Espinoza and Lo’eau LaBonta have left their mark on the Kansas City football landscape and they illustrate what it means to wear the honorary All-American title.”
Beloved Sporting Kansas City figure and former Honduran international player, Espinoza began his varsity career at Yavapai College by earning All-America first-team honors in sophomore year before transferring to the State of Ohio. During his junior season with the Buckeyes, Espinoza helped the team advance to the College Cup domestic championship game and won First Team All-Big Ten, Second Team All Regions and a place in the ‘NCAA College Cup All-Star team in the process.
Dropping out of his final year of college, Espinoza signed an Adidas generation contract with Major League Soccer, being selected by the then Kansas City Wizards in 2008. In his first five years with the club, Espinoza appeared. in 113 regular season games and helped Sporting to victory in the 2012 US Open Cup Lamar Hunt. Espinoza was also named MLS All-Star in 2012. In addition to his time in Kansas City, Espinoza was called up in the the Honduran national team for the London 2012 Olympics and the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups.
Following the 2012 Open Cup victory, Espinoza signed with Wigan Athletic of the English Premier League, winning the FA Cup with the team a year later in 2013. Espinoza returned to Sporting Kansas City, again lifting the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in 2015 and 2017 Additionally, in 2021, the midfielder served as an assistant coach at Sporting KC Academy as part of his B license courses in the United States Football Coaching Program. , as Luis Pacheco’s U-13 assistant.
Each year, the United Soccer Coaches Honorary All-America Award is presented to one or more individuals who have brought distinction and / or special attention to the sport of football through their efforts within and beyond the limits of sport. Among past recipients, categories of individuals recognized have included astronauts, artists, politicians, military personnel, administrators and others related to the game. Visit UnitedSoccerCoaches.org to learn more.