Sporting KC re-signs Graham Zusi

Sporting Kansas City announced today that the club has re-signed defender and seven-time MLS All-Star Graham Zusi to a one-year contract for the 2022 MLS season with an option for 2023.

One of the most accomplished players in club history, Zusi has spent his entire 13-year professional career at Sporting and won four major championships in Kansas City—the 2013 MLS Cup and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles in 2012, 2015 and 2017. The 35-year-old joined Sporting out of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and has since become the longest-tenured player with one team in MLS history, helping the club to 10 playoff appearances since 2011 as one of the league’s premier players.

Zusi is Sporting’s all-time appearance leader with 373 matches played in all competitions, including 320 in the MLS regular season and 20 in the MLS Cup Playoffs. He also ranks second on the club’s all-time charts in assists (87), minutes (29,980) and starts (327) while placing 10th in goals (33). The versatile veteran—who has transitioned from central midfielder to winger to right back during his tenure in Kansas City—was selected to the MLS Best XI in 2012 and 2013 after being named the 2011 MLS Breakout Player of the Year. Additionally, his club-record seven All-Star selections from 2012-2019 were the most in MLS during that time. 

On the international stage, Zusi amassed five goals and seven assists in 55 appearances for the United States Men’s National Team from 2012-2017. He appeared in all four matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup as a wide midfielder, tallying two assists, before representing his country at the 2015 and 2017 Concacaf Gold Cups, winning the latter as a right back.

Zusi started 26 of 28 MLS matches in 2021, becoming the all-time leader for most regular season appearances among one-club players in MLS history. He recorded five assists during the regular season for a side that led the Western Conference with 58 goals and finished three points out of first place. In a 3-1 home win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Nov. 20, Zusi opened his MLS postseason scoring account with a stunning 30-yard strike and extended a club record with his seventh career playoff assist.

The 2021 campaign also saw Zusi become the ninth player in MLS history to eclipse 25,000 regular season minutes with one club and the 12th active player with 100 combined goals (29) and assists (71) in regular season play. He finished the year with 28 successful crosses, eighth-most in MLS, and placed third on the team with 34 chances created.

Zusi began his Kansas City tenure in 2009 and flourished in his third professional season with five goals and seven assists as the 2011 MLS Breakout Player of the Year. He reached new heights in 2012, breaking into the U.S. Men’s National Team and landing MLS Best XI honors with seven goals and 17 assists in all competitions for a Sporting side that won the U.S. Open Cup with a shootout win over Seattle Sounders FC at Children’s Mercy Park. In 2013, Zusi repeated his MLS Best XI feat—and earned his second straight Sporting KC team MVP award—with six goals and 12 assists during a banner campaign in which Sporting ousted Real Salt Lake to win the MLS Cup on home soil.

Zusi would play an integral role for the U.S. MNT over the next three years, assisting two goals at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, featuring in all five matches in the 2016 Copa America Centenario and helping the Americans to the 2017 Gold Cup title. During that time, he remained an ever-present fixture for a Sporting side that captured the U.S. Open Cup title in 2015 and 2017 and consistently competed at the top of the Western Conference.

After moving into his current right back role in 2017, Zusi played every minute of the 2018 MLS season, tallying two goals and seven assists as Sporting finished first in the West and advance to the conference finals. In 2020, he helped the club to its fourth first-place conference finish in 10 seasons.

Zusi would play an integral role for the U.S. MNT over the next three years, assisting two goals at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, featuring in all five matches in the 2016 Copa America Centenario and helping the Americans to the 2017 Gold Cup title. During that time, he remained an ever-present fixture for a Sporting side that captured the U.S. Open Cup title in 2015 and 2017 and consistently competed at the top of the Western Conference.

After moving into his current right back role in 2017, Zusi played every minute of the 2018 MLS season, tallying two goals and seven assists as Sporting finished first in the West and advance to the conference finals. In 2020, he helped the club to its fourth first-place conference finish in 10 seasons. 

Away from the soccer field, Zusi has participated in numerous philanthropic events and embraced a leading role for The Victory Project, Sporting ’s charitable arm that helps children and families affected by cancer and all of life’s challenges. In addition to making virtual and in-person visits to Children’s Mercy Hospital to interact and play games with patients, the former Neal and Jeanne Patterson Humanitarian of the Year has led the following Victory Project initiatives: Yoga on the Pitch at Children’s Mercy Park, Sporting KC Day at the Kansas City Zoo, the Sporting Invitational golf tournament at Loch Lloyd Country Club and Celebrity Bartending at No Other Pub. He has also appeared regularly in the Braden’s Hope Calendar.

For a full list of Sporting’s offseason roster moves, visit SportingKC.com/news/tracker. Sporting will train in Arizona from Jan. 17 to Feb. 19 for the team's 2022 preseason, presented by Children's Mercy. Manager Peter Vermes’ side will then kick off the MLS season on Feb. 27, visiting Atlanta United FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, before hosting Houston Dynamo FC in a highly anticipated Children’s Mercy Park home opener on March 5.

Season tickets for Sporting Kansas City’s 2022 campaign and several 2022 ticket packages and promotions and are available by calling 888-4KC-GOAL or visiting SportingKC.com.

Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) re-signs defender Graham Zusi to a one-year contract for the 2022 MLS season with an option for 2023.

VITALS
Graham Zusi
Position: Defender
Number: 8
Born: 8/17/1986
Height: 5-10
Weight: 161 lbs.
Hometown: Orlando, Florida
Birthplace: Longwood, Florida
Citizenship: USA
College: Maryland
Twitter: @gzusi
Instagram: @gzusi