Peter Vermes was a few days into his first MLS job, technical director of Sporting Kansas City, when he went searching for a proper education. There were no models within the league to shadow — only a couple of teams even had the position in their front office — but Vermes knew the man he wanted to study.
Reid was seven years into his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles, an NFL team Vermes grew up supporting from his childhood home in nearby Delran, N.J. To some, there was little correlation to the job Vermes had assumed — overseeing the roster of a soccer club — and the one assigned to Reid. To Vermes, there was plenty to learn.
“There’s something to be said about how you keep turning over a roster while staying competitive,” Vermes said. “He had consistency. He’d been there a long time, and, well, the results spoke for themselves.”
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Vermes got to work. He studied his subject like he would scout a player, gathering as many details as possible. He caught a break when he found someone — a person he prefers to keep anonymous — who knew Reid’s ways.
A case study, of sorts, was born. To this day, Reid is unaware that Vermes has modeled some of what he does in Kansas City after the man who coincidentally followed him to the Midwest. Reid took over as the Chiefs coach in 2013.
“I met with someone who walked me through the different things Reid and the Eagles did as an NFL team. It was great for me,” Vermes said. “There were definitely a lot of concepts that I still use currently.”
When he was appointed as the technical director for Sporting KC in late 2006, three years before he took over as the club’s head coach, Vermes knew the type of team he wanted to build. But he sought advice on how to build it.
When to acquire players. When to re-up their contracts. When to let others go. When to maximize return value in a trade. How to maneuver all of it within a salary cap. How to turn over a roster without navigating a complete rebuild.
“What I learned was all about when’s the right time for moves,” Vermes said. “It’s the whole idea on how you value players and how to get the best value out of players.”
Despite sharing a hometown for five years now, Vermes and Reid have never meet. As Sporting KC embarked on the MLS postseason in November, Reid opened a press conference by wishing Vermes good luck. Last week, Vermes filmed a video doing the same to the Chiefs, who begin their playoff journey Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts. There’s an evident mutual respect there.
But for Vermes, it runs deeper than respect. Even if Reid wasn’t part of the conversation, he unknowingly provided Vermes one of his early educations in sports management.
“I think it probably says a lot about how much time you have to put into the job. We don’t have any free time to meet,” Vermes said. “But I would like to meet him at some point, to be honest. I think there’s so much to glean from people in other sports, especially someone like him, who is not only well-respected but obviously has shown season after season how good he is. There’s a lot of crossover in a lot of situations, so, yeah, at some point, I would love to meet him.”