Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes is among 15 nominees on the National Soccer Hall of Fame Veteran Ballot, announced Friday by U.S. Soccer. Also appearing as Class of 2013 candidates are former Kansas City players Chris Henderson and Roy Lassiter (final year of eligibility) on the Player ballot, as well as Mike Burns and Mike Sorber on the Veteran ballot.
Vermes represented the United States in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea, and was named 1988 Chevrolet U.S. Male Soccer Athlete of the Year for his efforts. He also starred for the bronze-medal winning U.S. team at the World Five-a-Side Tournament in Holland in 1989, where he was the tournament's leading scorer with six goals.
He was next an integral part of a young U.S. team that qualified for their first World Cup in 40 years and appeared in every U.S. match at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy, where he nearly scored a sensational goal against the host Azzurri. Over the course of eight years with the U.S. Men’s National Team, Vermes earned 66 appearances with 11 goals and three assists.
In 1989 and 1990, Vermes became the first American to play in the Hungarian and Dutch First Divisions, appearing for Raba ETO and FC Volendam, respectively. He later spent five years with Figueras of the Spanish Second Division.
Returning to the United States for Major League Soccer’s inaugural season in 1996, Vermes enjoyed a stellar seven-year career in which he started 208 of 209 MLS games played, including postseason, and recorded 11 goals and 19 assists in more than 18,000 minutes played while playing primarily on the backline.
Vermes arrived in Kansas City in 2000 for what would be the most successful seasons of his MLS career. During his first year in Kansas City, he anchored one of the best defenses in League history and won MLS Defender of the Year, Best XI and MLS All-Star honors in helping lead the then-Wizards to winning the 2000 MLS Cup.
Following his retirement at the end of the 2002 season, Vermes now enters his seventh season as Sporting Kansas City’s technical director and fifth season as manager in 2013. He has been a finalist for MLS Coach of the Year each of the last two seasons after leading Sporting KC to back-to-back first place finishes in the Eastern Conference.
Last year, Vermes received 35.29 percent of votes in his final year on the Player ballot and he now appears on the Veteran ballot for the first time.
The voting pool for the Veteran ballot consists of only current Hall of Famers. Veteran ballot voters can name up to five candidates, and the top vote-getter will be elected as long as he or she appears on a minimum of 50 percent of the ballots. Voting began Friday and will continue through Feb. 22.
Former Kansas City Managers Bob Gansler (2011) and Ron Newman (1992) were each inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on the Builders ballot, while former KC players Tony Meola (2012), Preki (2010) and Alexi Lalas (2006) were also voted into the Hall of Fame following their prolific playing careers.