The good news continues to flow out of the the Sporting KC front office. After returning home from Real Salt Lake with a 2-1 dramatic victory over the league leaders, manager Peter Vermes was met with a contract extension. The extension will keep Vermes as both manager and technical director of Sporting KC until 2017.
Vermes has been the technical director of Sporting KC since 2006, making him the longest tenured technical director in MLS. He replaced Curt Onalfo as manager in 2009. Since taking over as manager, Vermes has a .557 winning percentage, which is the best record in team history over a span of five seasons.
Under Vermes, Sporting KC won their first major trophy since 2004 when they won the U.S. Open Cup in 2012. Winning the U.S. Open Cup qualified Sporting KC for the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions League, the first time Kansas City has qualified for this competition.
The accolades do not stop there for Vermes. The past two seasons Sporting KC has finished first in the Eastern Conference, but have not made the MLS Cup Final yet under Vermes. There are in a good position to finish atop the East again, with a four point advantage over Montreal Impact. They are also currently one point behind Real Salt Lake in the race for the Supporter’s Shield, which is awarded to the team who finishes with the most points at the end of the regular season.
In an article posted on the Sporting KC website, Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman gave some insight into why they wanted to extend Vermes’ contract.
“What’s been important for us is continuity on and off the field and this decision allows us to keep that continuity in place for the foreseeable future. We love that Peter has always been a long-term thinker and I believe the building blocks around turning this into a great organization long-term are in place. Having another four years to advance this cause is going to be very valuable to the team. We love that Peter has the commitment that he has to this city, this organization and to the development of the players.”
Vermes has a knack for finding young, talented players that he can groom into his style of soccer. A great example of a player that has excelled under Vermes is Graham Zusi. Zusi came to Kansas City after being drafted out of the University of Maryland in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. After a few seasons of getting used to Vermes’ style, he had his breakout year in 2011, and is now considered an important part of the United States Men’s National Team. When a majority of MLS signs older international players to succeed, Vermes has been relying on young domestic and international players that fit his system.
Vermes sticking around until 2017 is great news for all Sporting KC fans. Not only does he manage the first team, but as technical director, he is in charge of the youth system as well. This has led to Sporting KC signing two homegrown players in the past couple of years, the first with Jon Kempin, and the second with Kevin Ellis. Both Kempin and Ellis are on loan with Orlando City SC , where they are getting valuable minutes in a professional setting before coming back to Kansas City.