MLS Moves: SKC's Vermes: 'I'm exactly where I want to be'

Double-duty for Peter Vermes as technical director and manager of Sporting Kansas City has worked out pretty well, and thus the team has extended his contract.

Hired as head coach in September 2009, Vermes led SKC to an MLS Cup title in 2013 in between U.S. Open Cup crowns in 2012 and 2015. He had rejoined the team as technical director in 2006, six years after serving as captain of its first MLS championship squad. His new deal runs through 2019.

“Peter has consistently proven to be one of the most successful managers in Major League Soccer, and extending his contract was an important initiative for us this offseason,” said Cliff Illig, who along with Neal Patterson are the principal owners of the team. “We are very proud of the work that Peter has done for the organization, as well as turning Sporting KC into a perennial contender with six straight playoff appearances and three trophies in the past five years.
“The energy, focus and emphasis on detail as a manager and technical director that he puts into the first team, the Swope Park Rangers and our academy are second-to-none in our league, and we look forward to continuing our pursuit of championships with him.”

Vermes, 50, has compiled a record of 103-82-61 in regular-season games, which places him eighth in victories on the all-time MLS coaching list. SKC, one of the 10 founding members of MLS as the Kansas City Wiz in 1996, has set a club record under Vermes by reaching the playoffs in six straight seasons since 2011.

“I have been extremely fortunate and I am incredibly appreciative for not only being a part of the vision of this ownership group and organization over the last 10-plus years, but also for the opportunity to continue to be a steward for the club,” Vermes said. “I have been involved with this project from ground zero and am exceptionally proud to be able to build on the foundation that has been created here.”

Vermes is the only man in league history to win league titles as a captain and head coach with the same franchise. In 2000 he won the MLS Defender of the Year award and MLS Best XI honors by captaining Kansas City to a double of Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup.

The former U.S. international (67 caps) played professionally in Hungary, Spain and the Netherlands before signing an MLS deal to play for the MetroStars in the league’s inaugural 1996 season. He was elected to the Soccer Hall of Fame in 2013.

Since Vermes returned to SKC as technical director, it has built a state-of-the-art stadium (Children’s Mercy Park), started up a USL operation, and instituted an academy program. The club has competed successfully on the field despite lacking the budgets of rivals in bigger markets in both conferences.

“One of the things we’re not going to do is spend money in a way that’s going to hamstring us in the future based on a player not coming to fruition or us just spending all our money on one guy." Vermes said. "[New signings] have to serve a very important purpose for our organization, and we won’t jeopardize our philosophy, we won’t overspend, and we won’t sacrifice the team for any of those players.”

During a press conference Tuesday, Vermes indirectly addressed the issue of U.S. Soccer’s decision to fire national-team coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Vermes and Bruce Arena were the two names most closely linked to the job, which went to Arena last week.

“In any high-performance business, there are always a lot of things that can be rumbling around, if you will,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I’ll use the same line I used when I did my Hall of Fame speech: I’m exactly where I want to be, so the other things really don’t matter.”
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