Sporting Kansas City announced on Tuesday the four nominees for this year’s Sporting Legends inductee: defender Nick Garcia, midfielder Diego Gutierrez, midfielder Mo Johnston and forward Josh Wolff.
Online voting begins today and will continue through next Tuesday, April 18, at 11:59 p.m. CT. The 2017 inductee will be selected via the fan vote and will be recognized as the newest Sporting Legend on May 17 when Sporting Kansas City hosts defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders FC at 7:30 p.m. CT (tickets).
The Sporting Legends hall of honor, established in 2013, pays tribute to club icons and provides a platform for inductees to reconnect with the Kansas City soccer community on an annual basis. Eight individuals have been named Sporting Legends for their invaluable contributions to the Sporting Kansas City organization and to the growth of soccer throughout the region.
- 2013 – Preki, Tony Meola, Bob Gansler
- 2014 – Peter Vermes, Jimmy Conrad, Lamar Hunt
- 2015 – Chris Klein
- 2016 – Kerry Zavagnin
Like the previous eight members of Sporting Legends, this year’s inductee will have his name adorned outside The Victory Suite in the northwest corner of Children’s Mercy Park. The 2017 Sporting Legend will also participate in local activities during the week of May 17 to engage with supporters and leave a philanthropic impact on the Kansas City community.
Below are bios for each of the 2017 Sporting Legends nominees, detailing their career achievements and contributions to the club.
Garcia spent eight seasons in Kansas City from 2000-2007 and ranks second in club history in appearances (273), starts (272) and minutes played (24,715). The defender helped Kansas City to six playoff appearances and hoisted three major trophies, winning the 2000 MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield double as a rookie before securing the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
A current resident of Prairie Village, Kansas, Garcia remained in MLS for three more seasons until his retirement in 2010, anchoring defenses for the San Jose Earthquakes (2008-2009) and Toronto FC (2009-2010).
A Blue Springs High School graduate and two-time NSCAA All-American at Rockhurst University, Gutierrez began his 13-year MLS career in Kansas City as a club original in 1996 for the first of six seasons with the team. He recorded 13 goals and 46 assists in 316 career MLS matches (including postseason), earning MLS All-Star honors and a debut for the U.S. Men's National Team in 2001.
In 2004, Gutierrez captained Kansas City to the U.S. Open Cup championship and a berth in MLS Cup. He was a member of four U.S. Open Cup championship teams and won MLS Cup in 1998, scoring his first professional goal in the final. His 40 career playoff appearances rank third most in MLS history, and included starts in three MLS Cup finals.
Johnston was a regular starter throughout Kansas City’s first six seasons in Major League Soccer, tallying 32 goals and 31 assists in 170 matches between 1996-2001. In addition to earning 38 caps for Scotland, the versatile forward was a three-time MLS All-Star (1996-1998) and helped Kansas City win the MLS Cup and MLS Supporters’ Shield double in 2000.
After ending his playing career, Johnston coached the New York Red Bulls from 2005-2006 and became Toronto FC’s first manager in 2007. He was Toronto’s Director of Football from 2008-2010.
Wolff scored 46 total goals for Kansas City during two separate stints with the club, from 2003-2006 and 2008-2010. He ranks third on the team’s all-time goal-scoring charts and places seventh with 30 assists in all competitions. In 2004, Wolff helped lead Kansas City to Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup glory and an appearance in the MLS Cup Final.
Currently an assistant coach for Columbus Crew SC, Wolff recorded nine goals in 52 career appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team during an international career that spanned from 1999-2008. He was named to the U.S. squad for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea and the 2006 World Cup in Germany.