MLS Focus: Length of new deal with Sporting KC even surprised Vermes

Peter Vermes, the longest-tenured active coach in MLS, has signed a contract extension that will keep him as the manager and technical director with Sporting Kansas City through the 2023 season.

Vermes, who moved into player development at Sporting KC after retiring as a player in 2002, was hired as interim head coach in August 2009 and granted the head coaching job on a permanent basis even though Sporting KC went 3-7-2 after he took over.

Sporting KC went 11-13-6 in 2010 but has finished with a record of .500 or higher every year since then. Vermes led Sporting KC to its second MLS Cup title in 2013 and three U.S. Open Cup titles. It opened the 2018 season with a 6-2-2 record.

Vermes' tenure has coincided the growth of the club. Kansas City was considered the weakest market in MLS in the days of the Wizards. Sporting KC is a model franchise with Children's Mercy Park, the club's home since 2011, and Pinnacle National Development Center, which opened in 2018.

"There has been a tremendous amount of progress since the ownership took over in 2006," Vermes said a press conference on Monday.

He said the focus will be "on our backyard" and Sporting KC's next goal -- a lofty one, he admitted -- should be to put out 11 players who have come through its academy system and Swope Park Rangers team in the USL.

Vermes said he was surprised at the length of the contract extension owner Sporting KC co-owner Mike Illig offered.

"This long-term deal," said Illig in a statement, "shows commitment from the organization and from Peter, who has helped the club accomplish remarkable things on and off the field for the last decade."

The contract extension comes as Vermes is considered a candidate for the new U.S. men's national team general manager position and vacant head coaching  job.

He told the Kansas City Star he had talked with U.S. Soccer about both jobs but did not elaborate.

"It wasn't an interview," he said. "They called for permission to speak to me awhile back, and we talked, but that's it."

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