Peter Vermes walked into the postgame news conference Sunday with his hand hidden behind his suit jacket. He had a grimace on his face.
“Man,” he said. “My hand is so heavy.”
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With a smile, Vermes removed his hand from his pocket, showing the 2013 MLS championship ring on his finger.
Sporting Kansas City received the rings in a 20-minute ceremony prior to its 2-0 victory against Columbus.
“The ring ceremony was fantastic. It’s a really special occasion,” Graham Zusi said. “I thought the best part of it was to be able to do it with the fans. They deserve that recognition just as much as we do. To share that moment with them was pretty cool.”
The rings are handcrafted with 10-karat white gold, and feature 94 white diamonds and 17 blue diamonds. Each of them weighs 2 ounces.
It shows the team’s logo on top, with MLS CUP CHAMPIONS scripted across the edges. Each recipient’s name appears on the left side, along with a replica picture of Sporting Park. The right side showcases the MLS Cup trophy.
The inside of the ring includes the postseason path Sporting KC took to the Cup.
“This looks like a Super Bowl ring,” Vermes said.
Vermes said he was concerned prior to the match that the ring ceremony might prove to be a distraction for his club.
It didn’t pan out that way.
“I think today was a good day to really put last year behind us,” goalkeeper Eric Kronberg said. “It’s the last little thing. We’re champions last year, but we have to do it again this year. We have to focus on this year. I think everyone is happy we got our rings — and they’re beautiful — but we can put last year behind us and really focus on this year now.”