Peter Vermes will enter his 15th year as Sporting KC manager, an MLS record. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
Sporting Kansas City has signed manager and sporting director Peter Vermes to a five-year contract extension through the 2028 season, the MLS club announced on Wednesday.
Entering his 15th season as Sporting’s manager, Vermes has hoisted four major championships — the 2013 MLS Cup and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups in 2012, 2015 and 2017 — while leading the club to 10 playoff appearances, fourth most by a head coach in MLS history. He is the league’s fourth-winningest coach all-time with 183 regular season victories and his four major trophies rank third among active head coaches behind only Bruce Arena (New England Revolution) and Bob Bradley (Toronto FC). He is also the only active MLS manager to win three U.S. Open Cup titles.
“Peter is a superlative strategic thinker who loves to win and hates to lose,” Sporting KC co-owner and executive director Mike Illig said in a statement. “He continuously demonstrates his commitment to our ownership’s objective to elevate Sporting KC as a perennial contender in a league that grows tougher and tougher every year. He is also fully dedicated to our long-term strategy of developing young, high-potential players into the next generation of Sporting professionals. Over the last 14 seasons, Peter has earned the recognition and respect of many across soccer regionally, nationally and throughout the MLS community. We trust that his intrepid leadership will help bring more titles to this club and city.”
Vermes, who began his current role in 2009, is the longest-tenured head coach in MLS history and one of the longest-serving managers in global soccer. He has coached 516 matches for Sporting in all competitions—more than half of the games in the club’s 28-year existence and the most ever for a manager at one MLS club—and sits fourth on the MLS charts with 437 regular season games coached. His 15-season run at the helm of Sporting is the longest in Kansas City professional sports history.
Vermes was named Kansas City’s technical director in November 2006 and took head coaching duties on Aug. 4, 2009, punctuating the start of a winning era as the club rebranded to Sporting KC and moved into world-class Children’s Mercy Park prior to the 2011 campaign. He led Sporting to first-place finishes in the Eastern Conference in 2011 and 2012, including a club-record 63-point regular season in 2012. That same year, Vermes and Sporting captured the U.S. Open Cup—the club’s first trophy since 2004—with a famous home victory over Seattle Sounders FC decided by penalty kicks.
Sporting hit greater heights in 2013, winning the club’s second MLS Cup with a penalty shootout win over Real Salt Lake at Children’s Mercy Park as Vermes became the first person to win an MLS Cup as a player and coach with the same team. He previously led Kansas City to its first league title in 2000 as a standout central defender. Vermes experienced additional highs in 2013 by coaching the MLS All-Stars in the 2013 MLS All-Star Game at Children’s Mercy Park and being inducted into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame.
Vermes propelled Sporting to a club-record eight straight playoff appearances from 2011-2018 and added two more Open Cups to the trophy cabinet during that time—a shootout triumph at the Philadelphia Union in 2015 and a 2-1 home win over the New York Red Bulls in 2017.
In early 2019, Vermes was named the inaugural MLS Sporting Executive of the Year, earning the award for his exemplary leadership, dedication and strategic vision in guiding Sporting to long-term success. He oversees all soccer operations as the club’s sporting director, including scouting, roster management and the development of Sporting KC II and the Sporting KC Academy.
In 2020, Vermes was instrumental in helping MLS establish detailed return-to-play protocols during Covid and guided Sporting to the top of the Western Conference regular season standings for the second time in three seasons. His four first-place conference finishes since 2011 are more than any other MLS manager. The 2021 campaign saw Sporting remain a force in the West, finishing within three points of first place and sealing their 10th playoff berth in 11 seasons.
A native of Delran Township, N.J., Vermes embarked on a playing career that spanned from 1988-2002. He earned 67 caps for the U.S. men’s national team, notably representing his country at the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea and the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy.
Vermes was the first American player to compete in the top divisions of Hungary (1989) and the Netherlands (1990), then spent four seasons in Spain’s second division (1991-1995) before returning to the U.S. for Major League Soccer’s inaugural 1996 campaign. He started 208 of 209 MLS appearances over seven seasons, recording 11 goals and 19 assists while reaching the playoffs every year.
Vermes joined Kansas City ahead of the club’s historic 2000 season, winning the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup double while earning MLS All-Star, Best XI and Defender of the Year accolades. He ended his playing career following the 2002 campaign, his third with Kansas City, and has been involved in a record 670 MLS matches as a player or head coach (including playoffs and MLS is Back Tournament).