Peter Vermes named Sporting KC Chief Soccer Officer and Manager, Gavin Wilkinson hired as club’s new Sporting Director


Sporting Kansas City announced today that the club has named Peter Vermes as Chief Soccer Officer and Manager. As head of the club’s soccer operations, Vermes will oversee newly hired Sporting Director Gavin Wilkinson.

In his new position, Wilkinson will play a leading role in the club’s long-term player recruitment strategy, roster building and budgeting, technical staff management, and the continued development of Sporting’s professional player pathway, including MLS NEXT Pro team Sporting Kansas City II and the Sporting Kansas City Academy.

Wilkinson becomes part of a Sporting KC technical staff led by the following personnel entering 2024:

  • Peter Vermes – Chief Soccer Officer and Manager
  • Gavin Wilkinson – Sporting Director
  • Brian Bliss – Technical Director & Vice President of Player Personnel
  • Kerry Zavagnin – Assistant Coach
  • Zoran Savic – Assistant Coach
  • Ashley Wallace – Assistant Coach
  • Alec Dufty – Goalkeeper Coach

Vermes, the longest tenured head coach in MLS history, has served as Sporting’s manager since August 2009. He was the club’s technical director from 2006-2018 and its sporting director from 2019-2023. During his successful tenure in Kansas City, Vermes has won four major trophies—the 2013 MLS Cup and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups in 2012, 2015 and 2017—and finished atop the conference standings in 2011, 2012, 2018 and 2020. He has led Sporting to 11 playoff appearances since 2011 and remains the only person to ever win MLS Cup as both a player and a coach with the same team. Vermes is the third-winningest head coach in MLS history with 195 regular season victories.

During his heralded playing career, Vermes earned 66 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team and competed at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. At the club level, he competed in Hungary (Raba ETO), the Netherlands (Volendam) and Spain (Figueres) before embarking on a seven-year stint in MLS from 1996-2002. After playing for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in 1996 and the Colorado Rapids from 1997-1999, Vermes joined Kansas City in 2000. During his first year with the Wizards, he anchored one of the best defenses in league history and won MLS Defender of the Year honors while helping lead the team to the 2000 MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield. He retired from playing in 2002 and was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2013.

Wilkinson has 12 years of executive leadership experience in Major League Soccer, previously serving as the Portland Timbers General Manager (2010-2017) and President of Soccer (2018-2022). He spent 22 consecutive seasons in the Timbers organization, playing from 2001-2006 and holding head coach and general manager duties from 2007-2010 when the club competed in the United Soccer League prior to joining MLS in 2011.

A native of Auckland, New Zealand, Wilkinson began his professional soccer journey as a player in his home country. The defender competed for Waitakere City from 1992-1996 before moving to the Australian A-League, where he spent four seasons with Perth Glory from 1996-1999. Following brief stints with Instant-Dict in Hong Kong (1999-2000), Geylang United in Singapore (2000) and Kilkenny City in Ireland (2000-2001), Wilkinson moved to the United States to finish his playing career with the Portland Timbers in the USL First Division.

Sporting Kansas City will travel to Miami on Sunday to begin the club’s 2024 preseason presented by Children’s Mercy Kansas City. The team will train in South Florida from Jan. 14-31 and Feb. 4-17 in the buildup to its MLS regular season opener at Houston Dynamo FC on Feb. 24. Sporting’s first home match at world-class Children’s Mercy Park is slated for March 2 against the Philadelphia Union.