Sporting Kansas City’s Daniel Salloi has been chosen as a Major League Soccer All-Star for the first time in his career.
MLS announced its All-Star squad Wednesday afternoon, with Salloi earning the nod as the sole Sporting KC player on the roster.
“It’s amazing. I think I’ve had a great season so far and, hopefully, that’s how I’m going to finish it. But it’s a nice accomplishment,” Salloi said in an interview with the club. “Honestly, when my name was brought up as a nominee I was super excited and it’s honestly a big dream.”
Salloi is part of a 28-player roster that will take on the Liga MX All-Stars at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles at 8 p.m. Central time Aug. 25.
The All-Star team is made up of a mixture of 13 players via fan voting, 13 players selected by LAFC and All-Star head coach Bob Bradley, and two players selected by MLS commissioner Don Garber.
Salloi was selected as one of Bradley’s picks and is one of 10 forwards/wingers on the roster.
Following a tough two-year stretch in 2019 and 2020 in which he recorded just one goal and one assist in 35 appearances, Salloi has exploded onto the national scene in 2021.
The Hungarian winger is tied for the league lead in goal contributions with nine goals and four assists and has an MLS-best five game-winning goals this season through 16 games.
His nine goals rank fourth-best in the league, just one goal behind a tie for second place and two goals behind Seattle’s Raul Ruidiaz, who joins Salloi on the All-Star roster.
Salloi also ranks first in the league for chances created (25) and second for touches in the opposition box (91).
“He’s done a great job, I’m happy for him because obviously he’s turned a lot of things around and he’s on the verge of being really, really, not only a good player for us, but I think one of the better players in the league now,” Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes said.
Salloi continues a tradition at Sporting KC that has seen a player from Kansas City make the All-Star roster every year since the league’s inaugural season, barring the 2020 season that did not have an All-Star game due to COVID-19.
He’s also the first Sporting KC Academy product to earn a spot on the All-Star game roster.
In one of the hallways at the Sporting KC Academy is a mural that depicts every academy player to play for the first team. The likes of Gianluca Busio, Jaylin Lindsey and Salloi line the ever-growing hallway.
Standing at the center of it, just in front of Salloi’s picture, Vermes reflected on his club’s ideology of growing players rather than buying them and what Salloi’s accomplishment means.
“We’ve had guys who keep continuing to contribute to the first team, helping us win, and now Daniel, being the first guy is the first guy to promote himself to making it all the way up to the All-Star team, is a huge accomplishment,” Vermes said.
“Because it’s not easy in this league and especially with how many players are in the league now as opposed to years when there were only 10 or 12 teams in the league. Huge accomplishment for someone like that to be able to get onto everybody’s radar and be valued in that way.”
Standing next to his own picture in the very same hallway, which is a picture of his famous knee-slide celebration in a 1-0 win over Colorado in 2018, Salloi held all of his thanks to the fans who gave him votes.
“I saw lots of people tweeting about it and tagging me in it and I appreciate it, obviously,” Salloi said. “It means a lot to me and it always feels amazing when the fans support you and I think we have the best fans in the league.”
“So I want to thank them and whoever voted for me, it means a lot to me.”