Comets’ Sousa cleared to play after delayed rookie season

Bill Althaus
Lucas Souza

Kansas City Comets head coach Leo Gibson was in search of some good news, and he received it Monday.

That’s when the Comets announced that midfielder Lucas Sousa has been cleared to play in the upcoming Major Arena Soccer League season after visa issues kept the budding young star from competing during the 2019-20 campaign. Sousa is now under contract through the 2023-24 season.

“I am glad to finally be cleared to play,” Sousa said. “Having to sit out last year was hard, but it only makes me want to work harder for coach Leo and the team this season.”

Sousa is the second Comet to be cleared to play after having to sit out last season because of visa problems. Forward Ramone Palmer was cleared earlier this month.

Gibson foresees a bright future for Sousa, a former Park University standout.

“I can’t even tell you how excited I am that Lucas is past all his visa issues and will be able to play for us next season,” Gibson said. “He is going to help us tremendously. I believe that he will be in the rookie of the year conversation this coming season.”

The 27-year-old native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, is expected to have a major impact on the team now that his visa issues are behind him. His only action as a Comet last season was in an exhibition match in February against the Wichita Wings of the MASL2 in Wichita, where Sousa scored two goals and had one assist.

During the MASL season, he was on loan to the Wings for five games, where he averaged more than a hat-trick per game, scoring 16 goals with three assists for 19 points.

“He will jump right into the action and be a part of the team immediately,” Gibson said. “He worked with us, or with Wichita all last season. He just had to clear up his visa issues, and he did. He was very patient and he worked hard in preparation for this season.”

Speaking of this season, Gibson hopes his team is able to hit the Cable Dahmer Arena field in November.

“No one knows what is going to happen tomorrow, let alone in two, three or four months,” the Comets all-time scoring leader said. “But ... I am a very positive person. I hope we can play, and I believe we will be able to play if they can find a way to make it safe for everyone involved – the players, coaches, our staff and, of course, our fans.”