Rookie Class: Comets trio shining in 1st season

by Nathan Dunn

The future of the Kansas City Comets is in good hands thanks to the outstanding play of rookie trio Michael Lenis, Leo Acosta and Phillip Ejimadu this season.

Lenis and Acosta both have scored seven goals, tied for the second most on the team alongside veterans John Sosa, Ray Lee and Nacho Flores. Ejimadu has also impressed in his five games with some extraordinary saves.

"It doesn't just come down to talent," said Stefan Stokic, Comets head coach. "It comes down to how focused those three are, their mentality, and their professionalism. What I love about them is the hard work that they've put in, the level of focus they've maintained, and the mentality."

Lenis came to the Comets following three years with Sporting KC II. The 20-year-old Sporting KC Academy product has featured in 11 of the Comets' 12 games and has produced four assists in addition to his seven goals. The South Florida native may not enjoy the cold temperatures outside, but he has certainly made a quick transition into Hot Winter Nights.

"He's learning the game pretty quick for a rookie player," Stokic said about the 5'5" midfielder. "His professionalism at a young age is huge for him right now. That's why he is having success because he is very mature for his age."

Acosta joined the Comets in preseason and immediately opened the eyes of the Comets coaching staff. "The first moment we saw him in preseason, we wanted him right away," Stokic said. Comet great Dino Delevski gave him a start in the indoor game in the 2021 MASL2 season with the Chicago Mustangs, where then-18-year-old Acosta was a Mustangs standout as he tallied 25 points from 20 goals and five assists in 10 games.

The West Chicago native midfielder has proven to be a tremendous talent and a player who can score some sensational goals, tallying seven goals and an assist in eight games this season as he has battled a lingering injury picked up in preseason. "He has tremendous ability, but he's been held back by injury. He's trying to get some of that momentum back, but we will see a lot more goals and assists from him."

Ejimadu joined the Comets during offseason kickarounds, where it was determined that it was a no-brainer to sign the talented shot-stopper. "The first moment we saw him, we were like 'let's get him!' He's very talented. He wants to win, he wants to thrive and he's hardworking," Stokic said of the former Los Angeles FC player.

The Black Panther has come up with some outstanding saves in the 24-year-old's rookie campaign. Ejimadu has been a valuable addition to the Comets' goalkeeper group, having made 67 saves this season.

All three are off to solid starts in their rookie campaign with much more expected.

"This is just the beginning for them. Once they learn the indoor game itself, they can only get better. They are great and talented players, but their mentality and hard work has been the difference," Stokic said.

The Comets continue their 2023-24 MASL campaign this Sunday when they visit Utica City FC, followed by visits to Baltimore and St. Louis the following weekend. The Comets finally return home on February 9 and 10 for matchups against the Tacoma Stars and Empire Strykers. Tickets are available at