When Sporting Kansas City returns to Children's Mercy Park for a highly anticipated home opener against Orlando City SC on Friday night, the longest-tenured head coach in MLS history will reach another major milestone in his decorated career.
Now in his 13th season at the managerial helm, Peter Vermes will participate in his 600th MLS match as a player or a head coach (including playoffs) when Sporting and Orlando square off at 6:30 p.m. CT. Only one other person—longtime player and coach Jason Kreis—has been involved in more MLS matches as a player or a manager.
Most MLS matches as a player or coach (including playoffs)
|Person||Matches||As player||As coach|
When Vermes was appointed as interim manager of the Kansas City Wizards in August 2009, few would have guessed it to be the start of the longest head coaching reign that MLS has ever seen.
A dozen years later, here we are. Vermes has become an institution in Kansas City as one of the league’s winningest managers. He has hoisted four major trophies—the 2013 MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup titles in 2012, 2015 and 2017—finished atop the conference standings four times and led Sporting to nine playoff appearances in the last 10 seasons.
Simply put, Vermes has built Sporting into a perennial championship contender.
Winningest coaches in MLS regular season history
|Sigi Schmid||240||1999-2004; 2006-2018|
|Bruce Arena *||218||1996-1998; 2006-2016; 2019-present|
|Bob Bradley *||171||1998-2006; 2018-present|
|Dominic Kinnear||170||2004-2018; 2020|
|Peter Vermes *||156||2009-present|
* Denotes active MLS coach
Vermes’ unmatched longevity in Kansas City speaks volumes about the consistency he has brought to his position. As illustrated below, no other MLS manager comes remotely close when it comes to tenure.
Longest-tenured head coaches in MLS
|Peter Vermes||Sporting Kansas City||2009|
|Jim Curtin||Philadelphia Union||2014|
|Brian Schmetzer||Seattle Sounders FC||2016|
|Adrian Heath||Minnesota United FC||2017|
|Giovanni Savarese||Portland Timbers||2018|
What makes Vermes' track record even more impressive is the fact that he has excelled in two distinct phases of his heralded soccer career. He was, of course, one of the greatest American players in the game during the 1980s and 1990s, representing the United States at the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea and the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. After club stints in Hungary, the Netherlands and Spain, Vermes joined Major League Soccer for its inaugural 1996 campaign and spent seven seasons in the league, notably guiding the Kansas City Wizards to the 2000 MLS Cup.
Fresh off a 2-1 victory to open the 2021 campaign last Saturday against the New York Red Bulls, Vermes and Sporting will look to continue their winning ways Friday against an upstart Orlando side that reached the playoffs for the first time last fall. The sold-out showdown will be shown live nationally on FS1, FOX Deportes and the FOX Sports app in addition to airing locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.