The Thunder will kick off its 20th season on April 11th against the Carolina Railhawks on the road. The Thunder’s home season will start on May 2 when it hosts the defending champions, the Vancouver Whitecaps at the National Sports Center.
Kirk, 20, joins the Thunder after spending three seasons from 2005 to 2007 with the Los Angeles Galaxy. The 6-2, 190 pound Kirk is a versatile player that has spent time in the defense, midfield, and as a forward. As a member of Generation Adidas, Kirk was selected by the Galaxy in the third round of the 2005 MLS SuperDraft. In 2006, Kirk had a breakout season with the Galaxy, appearing in 22 games and notching two assists. In 2007, the versatile player made eleven appearances, playing in both the midfield and defense.
“I am extremely excited to land a player with Quavas’ MLS and international experience,” said Thunder head coach Donny Gramenz. “Quavas is big, athletic, and very versatile. I see him playing as both a forward and outside midfielder for us this season. Quavas brings a lot to our team as we gear up for 2009.”
On February 15, 2008, Kirk was acquired by D.C. United in exchange for the rights to Greg Vanney. In the 2008 season, Kirk played in 10 games and scored one goal.
Kirk has been a member of both the U-17 and U-20 National Team where he has been a prolific scorer. In 2005 with the U-17’s he led the team in scoring with 11 goals and seven assists in 19 games. In 2004 he tallied 11 goals and four assists and in 2005 before suffering a broken foot, Kirk posted 16 goals and five assists in just 15 games. In 2006, Kirk made the jump from the U-17’s to the U-20’s, collecting two assists in five games in preparation for FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007 qualifying. Kirk was featured right back in two CONCACAF U-20 Final Round Qualifying Tournament Games in 2007 but was unable to participate in the U-20 World Cup due to injury.
Kante joins the Thunder after spending the 2008 season with the Seattle Sounders where he played in 22 games, tallying one goal and two assists. The native of Paris, France, began playing soccer in the Paris St. Germain youth system. Upon turning 19, Kante signed with ADO Den Haag of the Netherlands’ Second Division. He has also spent time with Swiss club FC Windisch and Romanian club SC Astra Ploiesti.
“I am very pleased that Youssouf is going to be in a Thunder uniform in 2009,” said Gramenz. “He adds a new dimension to our team with the combination of his work rate, athleticism, technical ability and personality. I believe he will become a fan favorite here in Minnesota and will do some great things for us this season.”