Luke Sassano

Luke Stephan Sassano (born October 14, 1985 in Orinda, California) is an American former soccer player who is currently the technical director for FC Cincinnati.

Luke Sassano
Sassano with New York Red Bulls in 2010
Personal information
Full name Luke Stephan Sassano
Date of birth (1985-10-14) October 14, 1985
Place of birth Orinda, California, United States
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Playing position Defender, Midfielder
Youth career
2004–2007 California Golden Bears
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2006 San Francisco Seals 12 (2)
2007 San Jose Frogs 13 (0)
2008–2010 New York Red Bulls 38 (0)
2011–2012 Sporting Kansas City 10 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of September 26, 2012


Youth and college

Sassano began his career at Lamorinda Soccer Club. He attended Miramonte High School in Orinda, California, and played college soccer at the University of California, Berkeley. He was an All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention in 2005, a Pac-10 All-Academic Honorable Mention in 2007, and a Pac-10 1st Team in 2007.[1] Sassano featured in a total of 64 games scoring four goals and registering 19 assists during his four-year career for the Golden Bears. During his college years Sassano also played for USL Premier Development League sides San Francisco Seals and San Jose Frogs.


Sassano was drafted with the 32nd pick of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft by New York Red Bulls and made his debut on 5 April 2008 in a home game against Columbus Crew. He was a valuable member of the squad in 2008 as his versatility enabled him to receive significant playing time in his rookie campaign. With the injury to starting defensive midfielder Seth Stammler, Sassano was inserted into the starting lineup for the club's first round MLS Playoff series against the defending champion Houston Dynamo. Sassano's defensive play helped the club upset heavily favored Houston 4–1 on aggregate, helping the club reach the Western Conference Final.

During his second season, Sassano featured in 17 regular season games playing primarily as a defensive midfielder. Following the 2009 Major League Soccer season, Sassano went on a three-week training stint with sister club FC Red Bull Salzburg.

Sassano appeared in 3 matches in 2010 before having season-ending ankle reconstruction surgery.[2] On December 15, 2010 Sassano was selected by Los Angeles Galaxy in Stage 2 of the Re-Entry draft[3] and subsequently traded to Sporting Kansas City.[4] He signed with Sporting KC on January 12, 2011.[5] On June 12, 2011 he scored his first Major League Soccer goal in a 4–1 victory over FC Dallas.[6] Sassano had season ending knee surgery on September 28, 2011.[7] He re-signed with SKC on January 30, 2012.[8][9] Sassano started off 2012 in promising fashion before being sidelined with his third extensive surgery in 2 years.[10]


After multiple injuries, including two knee surgeries in 2012, Sassano chose to retire as a professional soccer player, but he wished to remain involved in the sport. On April 16, 2013, Sassano was named Assistant Sporting Director for the New York Cosmos.[11] Along with scouting for talent both domestically and internationally, he is responsible for negotiating contracts and managing the roster.[12]

On March 14, 2018, Sassano was named the technical director of FC Cincinnati during their final season in the United Soccer League.[13] He was heavily involved with the planning and roster selection for FC Cincinnati as they moved up to Major League Soccer.[14]

Career statistics

All-time MLS club performance
Club Season Major League Soccer US Open Cup MLS Cup CONCACAF Total
App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals
New York Red Bulls
2008 18 0 1 0 4 0 23 0
2009 17 0 2 0 19 0
2010 3 0 4 0 7 0
Sporting Kansas City
2011 9 1 3 0 12 1
Club Total47110040611


New York Red Bulls


  1. "Pac-10 Men's Soccer" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 2, 2014. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  2. "Sassano and Nielsen undergo successful surgeries". New York Red Bulls. August 5, 2010. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  3. "Wolff goes 1st in Stage 2 Re-Entry Draft, Ángel to LA". Major League Soccer. December 15, 2010.
  4. "Sporting Kansas City Acquires Rights to Defender/Midfielder Luke Sassano" (Press release). Major League Soccer/Sporting Kansas City. December 15, 2010 via Our Sports Central.
  5. Rogers, Kyle (January 12, 2011). "Luke Sassano Signs with Sporting". Sporting Kansas City.
  6. Austin, Kurt (June 12, 2011). "Recap: KC breaks out for 4–1 win at Dallas". Sporting Kansas City.
  7. Whisenhunt, Josh (September 28, 2011). "Sporting Kansas City Weekly Update | Sporting Kansas City". Sporting Kansas City. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  8. Austin, Kurt (January 30, 2012). "Sassano signs new contract with Sporting KC". Sporting Kansas City.
  9. Browning, William (January 31, 2012). "Sporting KC Shores Up Midfield with Luke Sassano Signing: Fan Take". Yahoo! Sports. Archived from the original on May 3, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  10. Schroeder, Alice. "Sporting Kansas City Weekly Update: June 6, 2012". Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  11. Lewis, Brian (April 16, 2013). "Former Red Bull Sassano joins Cosmos front office". New York Post. Archived from the original on May 20, 2013.
  12. Kimura, Fumi (March 14, 2018). "FCC Welcomes Luke Sassano As Technical Director". FC Cincinnati.
  13. Brennan, Patrick (November 20, 2018). "Luke Sassano: FC Cincinnati comfortable with plan for inaugural MLS season". Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett Company. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
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