MLS Cup champion and World Cup veteran Benny Feilhaber selected as 2024 Sporting Legends inductee


Sporting Kansas City announced today that MLS Cup champion and World Cup veteran Benny Feilhaber has been selected as the newest member of Sporting Legends.

Feilhaber, who spent six standout seasons at Sporting and now serves as Sporting KC II head coach in MLS NEXT Pro, will be formally inducted into the Sporting Legends hall of honor in an on-field ceremony on Aug. 24 when Sporting Kansas City hosts Orlando City SC at Children’s Mercy Park.

Feilhaber is the 13th club icon to join Sporting Legends, an initiative launched in 2013 that tributes all-time greats while providing a platform for inductees to engage with supporters and the Kansas City community. Like the previous 12 Sporting Legends, Feilhaber will have his name adorned outside The Victory Suite in the northwest corner of Children’s Mercy Park. A new UMB Sporting Legends Pylon will also be unveiled at the stadium, showcasing special memorabilia items donated by Feilhaber.

Sporting Legends Inductees

  • 2013: Bob Gansler, Tony Meola, Preki
  • 2014: Jimmy Conrad, Lamar Hunt, Peter Vermes
  • 2015: Chris Klein
  • 2016: Kerry Zavagnin
  • 2017: Mo Johnston
  • 2019: Josh Wolff
  • 2021: Jimmy Nielsen
  • 2022: Davy Arnaud
  • 2024: Benny Feilhaber

One of the best American midfielders of his generation, Feilhaber enjoyed a brilliant 15-year playing career highlighted by a 2013 MLS Cup and two Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups with Sporting as well as a 2007 Concacaf Gold Cup title and a 2010 FIFA World Cup appearance with the United States Men’s National Team.

Feilhaber played 426 professional matches during a heralded club career that took him to the German Bundesliga, English Premier League, Danish Superliga and Major League Soccer. The playmaking midfielder amassed 41 goals and 60 assists in nine MLS seasons from 2011-2019, becoming one of 22 players in league history to hit 40 goals and 60 assists in the regular season.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and raised in the United States, Feilhaber was a midfield mainstay during two stints at Sporting. He guided the club to five straight playoff appearances from 2013-2017—winning three major championships during that stretch—and returned in 2019 for his final professional season before retiring in early 2020. Feilhaber, who had 35 goals and 58 assists in 198 matches for Sporting across all competitions, ranks among Kansas City’s all-time leaders in goals (ninth), assists (third) and total goal contributions (sixth). He is one of four players in club history—alongside Preki, Chris Klein and longtime teammate Graham Zusi—with at least 30 goals and 50 assists in a Sporting uniform.

Feilhaber began his MLS journey with the New England Revolution from 2011-2012 before starting his tenure in Kansas City under Manager Peter Vermes. Acquired by Sporting in an offseason trade, Feilhaber made an instant impact with three goals and four assists during the 2013 regular season campaign. He saved his best performances for the playoffs, where he assisted Claudio Bieler’s winning goal in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against New England, tallied the winning assist in the Eastern Conference Championship versus Houston Dynamo FC and played all 120 minutes of the 2013 MLS Cup, converting his penalty in a 10-round shootout as Sporting ousted Real Salt Lake at Children’s Mercy Park.

Feilhaber took another step forward in 2014, notching four goals and seven assists in MLS play, then reached new heights the following year. In his most productive season, Feilhaber earned 2015 MLS All-Star and MLS Best XI honors as one of three MLS MVP finalists, setting a club record with 20 assists in all competitions and reaching double-digit goals (10) and assists (15) during the regular season. Five of his 20 assists came in Sporting’s successful U.S. Open Cup campaign, which culminated in a shootout victory over the Philadelphia Union.

The 2016 campaign saw Feilhaber add another seven goals and 13 assists as one of the premier playmakers in MLS. His final season in his first spell with Sporting yielded five goals and a 2017 U.S. Open Cup title, with Feilhaber assisting Daniel Salloi’s winner in a 2-1 championship win over the New York Red Bulls at Children’s Mercy Park.

Feilhaber joined Los Angeles Football Club in 2018, starting 32 of his 34 regular season appearances while guiding the team to the playoffs as one of the best expansion teams in league history with a 16-9-9 record. He spent the first two months of the 2019 campaign with the Colorado Rapids before returning to Kansas City in a midseason trade. The final touch of Feilhaber’s playing career was a stunning strike at the Portland Timbers on Sept. 7, 2019, that was ultimately named Sporting’s Goal of the Year—an award he won four times.

Upon retiring in 2020, Feilhaber took a men’s soccer assistant coaching role at his alma mater UCLA. After one season, he joined the Sporting Kansas City technical staff in January 2021 and later that year was named U-17 head coach for the Sporting KC Academy. In early 2022, Feilhaber was appointed as head coach of Sporting KC II for the club’s inaugural campaign in the newly launched MLS NEXT Pro. He led the team to the MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs for the first time last year and enters 2024 in his third season at the helm, coaching alongside assistant and former Sporting teammate Ike Opara.

On the international stage, Feilhaber helped the United States U-20s to an upset win over Argentina in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship group stage, where he was first coached by Vermes who was a U-20 assistant at the time. Feilhaber made his senior international debut for the U.S. in March 2007 and three months later played a lead role at the 2007 Concacaf Gold Cup. He started four matches in the competition and scored the decisive goal in a 1-0 victory over rivals Mexico in the final—a remarkable volley that remains one of the greatest strikes in tournament history.

Feilhaber went on to make three appearances at the 2008 Summer Olympics in China before joining the U.S. for a thrilling run to the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup Final against Brazil, which included a stunning semifinal triumph over top-ranked Spain in the semifinals. At the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Feilhaber made three appearances as the Americans finished atop Group C and reached the Round of 16. He collected his last cap for the U.S. in October 2017.

After two standout college seasons at UCLA, Feilhaber turned professional in 2005 at age 20 by signing with German side Hamburg. He excelled on Hamburg’s second team and broke through for his top-flight Bundesliga debut in October 2006. The following summer, Feilhaber joined English outfit Derby County and competed in the renowned Premier League for the 2007-2008 campaign. He then embarked on a three-year spell with AGF Aarhus in Denmark, where he logged five goals in 55 games as a regular starter.