Paulo Nagamura departs

Sporting Kansas City II announced today that Paulo Nagamura has ended his tenure as the club’s head coach to pursue other professional opportunities.

Nagamura, a former midfielder and MLS Cup champion with Sporting Kansas City, spent five seasons on the Sporting KC II technical staff, serving as an assistant in 2017 before taking the helm as head coach in 2018.

“It was an amazing honor to be a part of the Sporting KC II technical staff for the last five years and a privilege to start my professional coaching career at a club that means so much to me,” Nagamura said. “I want to thank Sporting Kansas City ownership, Peter Vermes and the entire organization for the opportunity. I have learned a lot during my time here and will always be grateful for this special experience.”

“We thank Paulo for his fantastic service to the club and the impact he has made within our professional pathway,” said Peter Vermes, Sporting Kansas City Manager and Sporting Director. “He was an excellent leader and mentor for all players at our club and will always be a part of the Sporting family. Paulo has a very bright future ahead of him and we wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

As Sporting KC II’s head coach, Nagamura had an instrumental role in the development of Sporting KC Academy products and other young players looking to make the jump to Major League Soccer. From 2018-2021, he coached 15 Sporting KC Homegrown Players and gave playing time to an additional 23 Academy products at the USL Championship level, fostering the growth of a professional player pathway that has seen Sporting become an MLS leader in the promotion of youth talents to the first team.

Sporting KC II claimed their second consecutive Western Conference championship in 2017 with Nagamura serving as an assistant, then returned to the USL Championship playoffs with a winning record in 2018 as the Brazilian took head coaching duties. SKC II turned increasingly toward a youth development model in 2019 and faced unprecedented challenges in 2020, playing 15 of 16 USL Championship matches away from home. In 2021 alone, six Sporting KC Academy graduates have signed MLS contracts with Sporting while gaining valuable playing time under Nagamura in the USL Championship.

Nagamura, 38, concluded a 12-year MLS playing career at the end of 2016 as a two-time MLS Cup winner and three-time Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champion. He played 269 MLS matches from 2005-2016, competing in eight separate editions of the MLS Cup Playoffs.

During a five-year spell at Sporting KC from 2012-2016, Nagamura helped Sporting win three major championships and make the MLS Cup Playoffs each season. He logged 119 appearances for the club in all competitions, playing 120 minutes in the 2012 and 2015 U.S. Open Cup Finals as well as the 2013 MLS Cup. He converted his penalty kick in the shootout of each cup final victory, solidifying his status as a revered competitor and fan favorite.