Peter Vermes, Jimmy Conrad, Lamar Hunt selected as newest Sporting Legends

07/29/2014 3:31 PM

07/29/2014 5:35 PM

Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes, former player Jimmy Conrad and franchise founder Lamar Hunt were announced Tuesday as the three members of this year’s Sporting Legends class.

The trio will be inducted into the hall of honor Friday during halftime of Sporting Kansas City’s match against Philadelphia.

Vermes and Conrad were selected from a group of five finalists through a vote on the team’s web site and social media. Sporting Club selected the late Hunt as an honorary inductee for his role in launching Major League Soccer and the Kansas City Wizards organization.

The Hunt Sports Group owned the Wizards from 1996-2006. It still owns FC Dallas.

Lamar Hunt’s son Clark, the chairman for the Chiefs, will attend Friday’s ceremony.

“My family and I are thrilled that my father, Lamar, will be inducted into the Sporting Legends hall of honor this weekend,” Clark Hunt said in a statement. “Although he always shied away from individual accolades, I know that this honor would have been especially meaningful to him, because of his unwavering affection for the sports fans in Kansas City and his unbridled passion for the sport of soccer in the United States.”

Vermes anchored the Kansas City Wizards back line during a three-year portion of Hunt’s tenure with the team. He started 78 matches for the franchise and was named the MLS defender of the year in 2000.

He took over as the club’s coach six years ago and has since compiled a .570 winning percentage, best in franchise history. Vermes, who also owns the second longest coaching tenure in club history, helped the team to the 2013 MLS Cup championship and the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title.

“To be honored as a Sporting Legend is not only a proud moment but a humbling accolade from the perspective of all the great people that have been involved in shaping this organization,” Vermes said in a release. “I thank all those that voted for me, and I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this organization for as long as I have. I have never — and will never — take the opportunity to represent Kansas City for granted.”

Conrad will enter the hall of honor for his work as a player. He made 204 appearances with the team from 2003-10 and scored 17 goals, the most by a defender in the club’s history. He was named the MLS defender of the year in 2005 in the midst of a string of six straight All-Star selections.

“After plying my trade for eight years in a city that I came to know and love, I am incredibly honored to be recognized as a Sporting Legend,” Conrad said. “I want to thank everyone along the way who gave me the confidence to become that caliber of player and I can’t emphasize enough how much this induction means to me and my family.”

Sporting Legends was an initiative launched last season “to pay tribute to the clubs icons and (to) provide a platform for inductees to re-engage with the local soccer community.”

Preki, Tony Meola and Bob Gansler were the members of the inaugural class of Sporting Legends last August.

To reach Sam McDowell, call 816-234-4869 or send email to smcdowell@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SamMcDowell11.

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