A sixth-year veteran for Sporting KC, Graham Zusi was named to the U.S. Men's National Team's final roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup alongside teammate Matt Besler. The 27-year-old playmaker made his World Cup debut on June 16 and contributed the game-winning assist with a corner kick in the 86th minute as the U.S. beat Ghana 2-1. Six days later, Zusi assisted another goal in his first World Cup start as the U.S. tied Portugal 2-2. He played 84 minutes in a 1-0 loss to Germany on June 26 as the U.S. advanced to the knockout stage as Group G runners-up. He played 72 minutes in a 2-1 extra time loss to Belgium as the Americans bowed out in the Round of 16. Zusi debuted with the U.S. Men’s National Team in January 2012 and has since become a key contributor under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
A two-time NCAA champion at Maryland with goals in the semifinal and championship matches of the 2008 College Cup, Zusi was selected by Sporting KC in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. After being named MLSSoccer.com’s Breakout Player of the Year in 2011 with five goals and seven assists, Zusi reached new heights in 2012 an an MLS All-Star, Best XI selection and MLS MVP finalist with five goals and an MLS-best 15 assists. Zusi followed up his 2012 campaign with six goals and eight assists and an MLS All-Star selection in 2013. He earned MLS All-Star honors for the third straight season in 2014.
2014: MLS: Has appeared in 12 matches, 11 of them starts. Voted MLS Player of the Week (Week 4) after recording goal and two assists in 3-2 win at Colorado Rapids. Assisted Dom Dwyer's second goal in a 4-0 win over Montreal on April 19. Was named to MLS Team of the Week (Week 9) after assisting Claudio Bieler's goal in a 2-0 win over Columbus on May 4. Played 28 minutes as a second half substitute against Chicago on July 6, his first game back from the World Cup. Was voted to the MLS Fan XI on July 16, earning MLS All-Star honors for the third time in his career. CCL: Played 90 minutes in both 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal legs vs. Cruz Azul. Assisted Benny Feilhaber's goal in the second leg at Cruz Azul on March 19. Open Cup: Did not feature.
2013: Zusi was named a 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star as well as the Sporting KC Team MVP and Offensive Player of the Year. The No. 1 ranked midfielder in the Castrol Index, a performance index used by Major League Soccer that grades each action of the player on the field. MLS: Zusi appeared in 27 matches (26 starts) and tallied six goals and eight assists. Zusi scored the game-tying goal against the Philadelphia Union in the 2013 MLS season opening match finishing a rebound from Benny Feilhaber's shot (video). Zusi notched the game-winning assist in the 66th minute on a free kick (video) and added an assist on an insurance goal in the 83rd minute (video) of the 3-1 victory at PPL Park. Zusi earned his third assist and second game-winning assist with a 1-0 win on the road against New York (video). Zusi recorded a goal and an assist in a 4-0 home win over Chivas USA on May 5 (video). Zusi assisted on Ike Opara's goal in a 1-1 draw at D.C United on May 19 (video). Zusi scored the game-winning goal (named MLS Goal of the Week) in a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire on July 7 (video). Assisted on Ike Opara's stoppage-time winner against Real Salt Lake on July 20 (video). Sealed a 2-1 win over Colorado with an 88th minute left-footed strike at Sporting Park (video). Assisted on C.J. Sapong's first goal against Toronto FC on September 21 when his long-ball into the penalty box found the head of Dom Dwyer (video). Assisted on Ike Opara's game-winning goal in the first half of a 1-0 win over Columbus on October 5 (video). Zusi scored the game's first goal (and his first MLS headed goal) in a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union on October 26 (video). Playoffs: Started all five MLS Cup Playoff matches. Assisted on Sinovic's game-tying goal in the Eastern Conference semifinal series vs. New England the Aurelien Collin's game-tying goal in the MLS Cup Final vs. Real Salt Lake. CCL: Appeared in three of four 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League group stage matches. Assisted on Soony Saad's game-winning goal in a 2-0 win over Olimpia on August 27 and Jacob Peterson's game-tying goal in a 1-1 draw vs. Real Esteli on September 17. Open Cup: Did not feature.
2012: After earning MLS Breakout Player of the Year for his performance during the 2011 MLS season, Zusi wasted no time living up to the honor in 2012. Zusi notched six assists and a goal in the first six games of the 2012 regular season. At the conclusion of the regular season, Zusi leads Sporting Kansas City and Major League Soccer in assists with 15. This mark is the third most assists in a single-season in Kansas City’s club history. In addition, Zusi’s League leading five game-winning assists in 2012 match the single-season club record. Zusi leads the League in corner kicks at the conclusion of the regular season with 150 corner kicks, most by a Sporting Kansas City player in club history and third most in MLS history behind Brad Davis (172 in 2011) and Marco Etcheverry (198 in 1998).. Zusi was named a 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star, 2012 MLS Best XI, and 2012 Volkswagen Most Valuable Player Finalist.
2011: Secured a starting place and clocked 2,329 minutes in 32 games for Sporting Kansas City. Notched five goals and seven assists, a team high, and played in all three playoff games for Sporting, including the Eastern Conference Final. Recorded game-winning assists in three straight matches in June and was named MLS Player of the Month. Scored twice in 3-1 win over Portland on August 17, his second multi-goal game of the season, and was named MLS Player of the Week and earned the MLS Goal of the Week for his distance strike in the same match. He was named to the MLS Team of the Week for week 31. Provided both assists to the 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids in the second leg of the playoffs on Nov. 2.
2010: Made 19 appearances in his second year with the club, starting 4 games. He scored his first professional goal against the expansion Philadelphia Union. Also entered as a second-half substitute in Kansas City’s 2-1 win over Manchester United during summer friendly and started in U.S. Open Cup play-in match against Colorado.
2009: Selected 23rd overall in the 2nd round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. Made 13 appearances as a rookie, starting five games. Recorded his first assist in MLS in the last game of the season, as he fed Kei Kamara for the team’s first goal against D.C. United.
NATIONAL TEAM (27 caps, 3 goals, 6 assists): 2012: Zusi was invited to United States Men’s National Team’s 2012 January camp in preparation for two friendlies against Venezuela and Panama. He went on to start both matches and scored the lone goal in the win over Panama. Zusi started three matches in the third round of CONCACAF 2014 World Cup Qualifying including a win over 3-1 Guatemala on October 16, 2012 in Kansas City, KS. He played significant minutes in the teams 1-0 victory over Mexico during a friendly at Azteca Stadium and earned an assist in the 2-1 victory over Jamaica. 2013:Called into the 2013 USMNT January Camp along with Sporting KC teammates Benny Feilhaber and Matt Besler. Zusi started in the January 29 international friendly against Canada. He earned his eighth USMNT cap during the final round World Cup Qualifying against Honduras on Feburary 6, 2013. Zusi started in the 1-0 win over Costa Rica on March 22, 2013 in Colorado. Zusi also started for the squad against Mexico at Estadio Azteca on March 26, 2013. He helped the team to a 0-0 draw against Mexico, marking only the second time in USMNT history that the team has earned a point at Estadio Azteca in World Cup Qualifying history. Zusi started, played 56 minutes and notched his second international assist in a 4-3 win over Germany at RFK Stadium (June 2, 2013). Zusi played 90 minutes and assisted on Jozy Altidore's goal in a 2-1 World Cup qualifier win over Jamaica (June 7, 2013). Played 74 minutes of USMNT's 1-0 World Cup quaifying win over Honduras on June 18. Started and played 58 minutes in 3-1 World Cup qualifying loss to Costa Rice on September 6 and came off the bench for final six minutes of 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Meico on September 10. Played final two matches of Hex to help the USMNT secure first-place in the group. Came off the bench at halftime to score the game-winning goal in a 2-0 win over Jamaica at Sporting Park on October 11. Scored the game-tying goal in stoppage-time in the USMNT's 3-2 win over Panama on October 15. 2014: Was one of five Sporting KC players called into the 2014 USMNT January camp. Started and had a hand in both goals as the USMNT defeated Korea Republic 2-0 on Feb. 1. Named to roster for April 2 international friendly against Mexico. Named to the final 23-man roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup on May 22. Appeared in pre-World Cup friendly victories over Azerbaijan (2-0) on May 27, Turkey (2-1) on June 1, and Nigeria (2-1) on June 7, starting against Azerbaijan and Turkey. 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP: Played 13 minutes in a 2-1 win over Ghana, providing the game-winning assist to John Brooks with a corner kick in the 86th minute. Played 91 minutes in a 2-2 draw against Portugal, assisting Clint Dempsey's 81st-minute goal with a cross from the left side of the six-yard box. Played 84 minutes in a 1-0 loss to Germany on June 26. Started and played 72 minutes in a 2-1 extra time loss to Belgium in the Round of 16.
COLLEGE: Played 4 seasons at the University of Maryland. Played in 89 games (65 starts), recording 28 goals and 20 assists during his college career. Helped Maryland win the National Championship in 2005 and 2008, scoring the game-winning goal in the 2008 National Semi-Final and Championship Games. Was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player in the 2008 College Cup.
YOUTH: Three-time team captain for coach Danny Kirby at Lake Brantley High School. Netted 18 goals and 20 assists while helping his team to the district title. Named Orlando Sentinel Central Florida and Seminole County Player of the Year as a junior, scoring 25 goals and 15 assists, helping Lake Brantley to the state semifinals. two-time All-County and team MVP. Poured in 34 goals and added 27 assists as a sophomore. Tallied 98 goals and 77 assists during his high school career. Member of the Region III ODP team and was the team’s leading scorer at the Tournament of Champions. Member of the adidas inter-regional ODP all-star team. Also excelled at lacrosse.
PERSONAL: Has two younger sisters and one older brother who all play soccer. In his free time, Zusi enjoys spending time with his family and doing outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping. He also enjoys other sports that he played growing up, such as lacrosse, basketball and tennis. Listens to all types of music, especially indie rock. One of Zusi’s all-time favorite movies is Tommy Boy. Lists Zinedine Zidane and Chance Myers as his favorite soccer players, and enjoys watching Liverpool FC. Gameday traditions include breakfast at Simply Breakfast with chocolate chip pancakes, breakfast potatoes, turkey sausage and a gallon of water. Lists his top soccer memories as winning the College Cup with Maryland, playing in the opening match of Sporting Park and scoring for the U.S. Men's National Team.