Sporting Kansas City announced Tuesday that longtime midfielder and MLS all-star Benny Feilhaber has returned as a member of the club’s technical staff for the 2021 season.
The team also hired Randi Lininger and Eric Schwartz as assistant athletic trainers for the first team.
Feilhaber, who will report to head coach Peter Vermes, ended his professional playing career last March, retiring after 15 seasons across Major League Soccer, the German Bundesliga, English Premier League and Danish Superliga. He won the 2013 MLS Cup and the 2015 and 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups with Sporting and represented the United States internationally, lifting the 2007 Concacaf Gold Cup and competing at the 2010 World Cup.
“To be back at Sporting Kansas City as part of the technical staff means everything to me,” Feilhaber said in a statement. “This is the club where I experienced the most success as a player. Peter and the staff invested in me back in 2013 and I look forward to working with them once again. I’ve come to know a lot of great people here in Kansas City — fans, teammates, coaches and the ownership group — and this is a fantastic opportunity for me to give back to the city and the club. I’m very excited to get to work.”
One of the most prolific playmakers in MLS the last decade, Feilhaber ended his playing tenure at Sporting with 35 goals and 58 assists in 198 appearances. He spent two stints in Kansas City, guiding the club to five consecutive playoff appearances from 2013-2017 and returning in 2019 for his final season. His 35 goals and 58 assists rank seventh and third on the club’s all-time charts, respectively, and he is one of four players in team history — alongside Preki, Chris Klein and current Sporting defender Graham Zusi — with at least 30 goals and 50 assists.
Feilhaber, 36, bagged 56 goals in more than 400 professional matches during a well-traveled club career that included stops at Hamburg in Germany, Derby County in England and Aarhus in Denmark. His MLS journey also featured spells at the New England Revolution (2011-2012), LAFC (2018) and the Colorado Rapids (2019).
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and raised in Irvine, Cali,, Feilhaber represented the USMNT 44 times from 2007-2017. He scored a world-class goal to win the 2007 Concacaf Gold Cup final against Mexico, helped the U.S. to a second-place finish at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and played three World Cup matches the following year in South Africa.
Last August, Feilhaber took the first step of his post-playing career by joining UCLA, his college alma mater, as an assistant coach for the men’s soccer team. Working under head coach Ryan Jorden, he oversaw training sessions throughout the fall after the Pac-12 Conference postponed its 2020 season until 2021. Feilhaber is close to attaining his B License
through the U.S. Soccer Coaching Education program.