In what has officially become a recurring segment every Wednesday on Sports Radio 810 WHB, Sporting Kansas City defender Graham Zusi joined Border Patrol hosts Nate Bukaty and Steven St. John this morning to provide a preseason update from Compass Minerals National Performance Center.
Zusi has become the first player in Sporting history to spend 13 seasons with the club and is the longest-tenured MLS player with one team. The 34-year-old defender was unaware of that particular fact until today’s discussion on 810 WHB.
“That’s wild and I love it,” Zusi said. “I’m not a huge stat person, but that one I find pretty awesome. I absolutely love Kansas City and I 100% want this to be the only club that I play for in my career. That doesn’t happen in sports too often anymore. I’d love for me to be a one-club player.”
Sporting opened voluntary preseason training this week and is set to travel to Arizona on Sunday for the start of a training camp that runs from March 8 to April 3. Zusi will spend the vast majority of his time in Arizona rehabbing a foot injury that has kept him sidelined since last October.
Despite not being involved in training, Zusi has been impressed by the early form of his teammates. He also spoke highly of 18-year-old midfielder Gianluca Busio, who has taken the prestigious No. 10 jersey ahead of the 2021 campaign.
The No. 10 jersey truly means something in the sport of soccer, Zusi said. It’s the most coveted number for any team, and the fact that Busio is ready to embrace that role says a lot about the teenager’s quality and mentality.
“Busio feels like he’s ready to take that role on, and for me that’s a very encouraging sign,” Zusi said. “We all see the upside that he has, and we’ve already seen glimpses of that brilliance. For him to want to take on that challenge and be the guy—that shows that he isn’t satisfied with just breaking into the team and having a good year.
“He wants to continue to climb that ladder, be the staple, be the man on the team. I love that and I think a lot of these younger guys need to do that. They need to grab that position and make it theirs, wherever it is on the field.”
Zusi also remarked on his recent trip to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum with a number of Sporting teammates. The squad received a comprehensive tour from museum president Bob Kendrick, who left Zusi feeling blown away by the amazing experience.
“He should be a historical landmark in this city,” Zusi said of Kendrick. “He has probably done that (tour) 10,000 times for people, but it literally felt like it was his first time doing it. He was so excited and informative. I highly, highly recommend going if you get the chance to go down there and see what it’s all about.
“It’s amazing how many times the history books are actually incorrect. There are so many little nuances about the history of (baseball) that started in the Negro Leagues. If you’re not holding the pen during the course of history, things can get lost. That’s really unfortunate, but I’m really happy to have learned some of those things in my visit.”