Sporting KC

Peter Vermes gets contract extension with Sporting Kansas City

Updated: 2013-07-23T15:00:17Z

By TOD PALMER

The Kansas City Star

Peter Vermes is locked in as Sporting Kansas City’s coach and technical director through 2017. The club was set to make an announcement of a contract extension for Vermes on Tuesday.

“It really was a no-brainer,” Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman said. “The vision that we set forth with Peter seven years ago was very long term, and we’re been pleased with the progress he’s made toward the vision we all mutually laid out.”

Vermes took over as the then-Wizards’ technical director in November 2006 shortly after OnGoal LLC bought the club and he replaced Curt Onalfo as coach on an interim basis in August 2009.

The interim tag was dropped after that season, and Vermes has handled both roles the last four seasons, including back-to-back Eastern Conference regular-season championship and the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title.

While the MLS Cup has remained elusive, Sporting KC has established itself as one of the top clubs in MLS.

Since the start of 2011, even including a 1-6-3 road stretch before Sporting Park opened that June, Sporting KC is tied with the LA Galaxy for the best winning percentage in the league (.612) and owns the third-most wins (41), trailing only LA (45) and Real Salt Lake (43).

“It’s something that I’m excited to be part of, and knowing full well I’ll be here for a number of years in the future to continue helping grow the organization is a very proud moment for me,” Vermes said.

Currently, Sporting KC at 10-5-6 has the second-most points in MLS (36) and once again sits atop the Eastern Conference table — four points ahead of the Montreal Impact, which will host Vermes’ squad Saturday.

“We’re really satisfied with the job that Peter has done, and we’re excited to be able to keep a guy who has the commitment he has shown to Kansas City in Kansas City for the long term,” Heineman said.

Vermes didn’t initially intend to handle both the technical director and managerial roles, but after the 2009 season that changed.

“At the end of that season, when I had my meeting with the ownership group, I’ll never forget when Neal (Patterson) looked at me and said, ‘So, are you going to take this thing and fix it?’ ” Vermes said. “That’s basically what he said, and I said, ‘Yep, I am.’ ”

Now, Vermes can’t see himself not being so heavily involved in all aspects of the club.

“I love both sides of the business,” Vermes said. “The continuous job of trying to find the next player that’s going to fit into your team and your organization, the culture of your team — that’s fun and exciting.

“The strategy of how to beat your opponent — from the the time you set up your game plan then training and developing that over the course of the week before taking it to the field and trying execute that — is something I loved as a player and probably will love for the rest of my life.”

Vermes also relishes (and has been successful at) developing players — think Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza, Soony Saad, Chance Myers.

“All those pieces are exciting to me and keep it fresh,” Vermes said. “For me personally, it would be hard in this job to only do one of them. I would always have to be a part of all of it, because I think it all goes together.”

He’ll get to keep doing it all — at least through 2017.

“If we can continue being successful as a team and stitch some championships in there, I can see us continuing along and extending this agreement,” Heineman said. “It would be fantastic if we could have a guy who winds up being our coach here for the next 20 years.”

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.

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