VIDEO: my90 | Graham Zusi
After being named MLSSoccer.com’s Breakout Player of the Year in 2011 with five goals and seven assists, Zusi reached new heights in 2012 an an MLS All-Star, Best XI selection and MLS MVP finalist with five goals and an MLS-best 15 assists. Zusi followed up his 2012 campaign with six goals and eight assists and an MLS All-Star selection in 2013. He earned MLS All-Star honors for the fourth straight season in 2015 before landing All-Star recognition again in 2017 and 2018.
Zusi has made 295 competitive appearances for the club, second-most all-time, and ranks second in Kansas City history with 78 assists in all competitions. A two-time NCAA champion at Maryland with goals in the semifinal and championship matches of the 2008 College Cup, Graham Zusi was selected by Sporting KC in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.
A 10-year MLS veteran, Zusi debuted with the U.S. Men’s National Team in January 2012 and has since become a key contributor for the side. In 2014, he was named to the U.S. roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup alongside teammate Matt Besler. The winger made his World Cup debut on June 16 and contributed the game-winning assist with a corner kick in the 86th minute as the U.S. beat Ghana 2-1. Six days later, Zusi assisted another goal in his first World Cup start as the U.S. tied Portugal 2-2. He played 84 minutes in a 1-0 loss to Germany on June 26 as the U.S. advanced to the knockout stage as Group G runners-up. He played 72 minutes in a 2-1 extra time loss to Belgium as the Americans bowed out in the Round of 16. Zusi was named to the U.S. Men's National Team for the 2016 Copa America Centenario and helped the side to a fourth-place finish with one goal in five appearances. In 2017, Zusi started four matches en route to collecting his first CONCACAF Gold Cup title alongside Besler.
2018: Earned MLS All-Star recognition for the sixth time in his career. Was named Sporting KC's Co-Defensive Player of the Year in addition to receiving the Neal and Jeanne Patterson Humanitarian of the Year award. MLS regular season: Started 34 matches while playing every minute of the regular season, scored two goals, recorded six assists and contributed to 13 shutouts (2,970 minutes played). Scored a stunning left-footed goal in a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on March 17. Scored a late equalizer in a 2-2 draw against Seattle Sounders FC on April 15. Assisted Johnny Russell's first goal in a historic 6-0 hammering of Vancouver Whitecaps FC on April 20. Assisted both goals in a 3-2 loss to the New York Red Bulls on July 14, setting up Johnny Russell's early equalizer and Roger Espinoza's go-ahead strike at Red Bull Arena. Assisted Diego Rubio's game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory at the Houston Dynamo on Aug. 4. Assisted Johnny Russell's superb late equalizer in a 1-1 draw with LA Galaxy on Oct. 6 as Sporting KC clinched a club-record eighth straight playoff berth. Assisted Yohan Croizet's equalizer in a 4-1 comeback victory at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Oct. 17. Assisted Roger Espinoza's stunning strike in a 2-1 win over LAFC on Oct. 28 as Sporting KC finished first in the Western Conference. Open Cup: Started and played 90 minutes in a 3-2 victory over FC Dallas in the Round of 16 on June 16, assisting Daniel Salloi's first goal at the end of the first half. Started and played 90 minutes in a 4-2 quarterfinal loss at the Houston Dynamo on July 18. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started four matches and contributed to one shutout (360 minutes played). Started and played 90 minutes in a 1-1 conference semifinal first leg draw at Real Salt Lake on Nov. 4. Started and played 90 minutes in a 4-2 conference semifinal second-leg win over Real Salt Lake on Nov. 11. Started and played 90 minutes in a 0-0 conference championship first-leg draw at Portland on Nov. 25. Started and played 90 minutes in a 3-2 conference championship second-leg loss to Portland on Nov. 29.
2017: Was named an MLS All-Star for the fifth time in his career. MLS regular season: Started 23 of 24 appearances, contributed to 11 shutouts and recorded eight assists (2114 minutes played). Assisted Benny Feilhaber's stunning goal in a 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on March 18. Assisted another brilliant strike from Benny Feilhaber in a 3-0 win over Real Salt Lake on April 29, recording the 50th assist of his MLS regular season career. Assisted Gerso's third goal in a 3-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC on May 17. Recorded two assists in a 2-0 win over FC Dallas on Aug. 19, becoming Sporting KC's all-time leader with 24 game-winning assists in the MLS regular season. Assisted Diego Rubio's first goal in a 3-1 win over the New England Revolution on Sept. 16. Assisted Daniel Salloi's goal in a 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy on Sept. 24. Assisted Ike Opara's late goal in a 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake on Oct. 22. Open Cup: Started and played 90 minutes in a 4-0 fourth-round victory over Minnesota United FC on June 14, assisting Ike Opara's game-winning goal. Started and played 119 minutes in a 5-4 penalty shootout victory over the San Jose Earthquakes following a 1-1 draw through regulation and extra time on Aug. 9. Started and played 90 minutes in a 2-1 Open Cup Final victory over the New York Red Bulls on Sept. 20, assisting Latif Blessing's opening goal in the 25th minute. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started and played 120 minutes in a 1-0 extra-time loss at the Houston Dynamo in the Western Conference Knockout Round on Oct. 26.
2016: Started 20 of 23 appearances in all competitions, recording two goals and four assists (1831 minutes played). MLS regular season: Started 18 of 21 appearances, recording two goals and four assists (1651 minutes played). Tallied the game-winning assist to Dom Dwyer in a 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on March 12. Talllied the game-winning assist to Benny Feilhaber in a 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls on April 9. Assisted Brad Davis' goal in a 1-1 draw against LA Galaxy on May 1. Scored a spectacular goal in a 3-2 win over Columbus Crew SC on July 3. Assisted Dom Dwyer's first goal in a 3-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC on July 24. Played 90 minutes at right back in a 2-0 win over Vancouver on Aug. 20. Scored a goal in a 2-0 win over the San Jose Earhquakes on Oct. 23, helping Sporting KC secure a club-record sixth straight playoff appearance. Open Cup: Started one match (90 minutes played). Started and played 90 minutes in a 3-1 fifth round loss at the Houston Dynamo on June 29. CONCACAF Champions League: Did not feature. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started and played 90 minutes in a 1-0 knockout round loss at Seattle Sounders FC on Oct. 27.
2015: Zusi featured in the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on July 29, becoming the only player to appear in every MLS All-Star Game between 2012-2015. MLS regular season: Started 22 of 25 appearances and recorded two goals and five assists (1986 mintues played). Assisted Benny Feilhaber's equalizing volley in the 94th minue of a 4-4 draw at Houston on April 25. Assisted Paulo Nagamura's game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Chicago on May 3. Scored a goal and assisted goals to Kevin Ellis and Krisztian Nemeth in a 4-0 win over FC Dallas on May 29, earning MLS Team of the Week honors (Week 13). Scored an excellent goal in a 3-2 loss at Columbus Crew SC on Aug. 22. Came off the bench and assisted Krisztian Nemeth's stunning game-winner in a 1-0 victory over Portland on Oct. 3. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started and played 120 minutes in Sporting KC's 7-6 penalty kick shootout loss at Portland after a 2-2 draw through regulation. Assisted Kevin Ellis- 87th-minute equalizer to force extra time, tallying his 50th career MLS assist (including postseason). Open Cup: Started two matches and recorded one goal and one assist. Played 90 minutes and scored the lone goal in a 1-0 fourth round win over Saint Louis FC on June 16. Started and played 120 minutes in a championship win over the Philadelphia Union on Sept. 30 as Sporting KC prevailed 7-6 in penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in regulation. He assisted Krisztian Nemeth's equalizing goal in the 65th minute and converted his penalty kick in the shootout. MLS All-Star Game: Started and played 45 minutes in the All-Stars' 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur on July 29.
2014: Was named Sporting KC's 2014 Co-MVP. He is the only MLS player to register at least five goals and at least seven assists in each of the last four seasons. MLS: Appeared in 24 matches, 23 of them starts, with five goals and eight assists. Voted MLS Player of the Week (Week 4) after recording a goal and two assists in 3-2 win at Colorado Rapids. Assisted Dom Dwyer's second goal in a 4-0 win over Montreal on April 19. Was named to MLS Team of the Week (Week 9) after assisting Claudio Bieler's goal in a 2-0 win over Columbus on May 4. Played 28 minutes as a second half substitute against Chicago on July 6, his first game back from the World Cup. Was voted to the MLS Fan XI on July 16, earning MLS All-Star honors for the third time in his career. Scored an MLS Goal of the Week winner in a 2-1 win at Toronto on July 26. Scored a goal in a 1-1 draw against Philadelphia on Aug. 1, marking the first time he has scored in consecutive MLS matches in his career, and was named to MLS Team of the Week (Week 21). Started and played 45 minutes in the MLS All-Star Game on Aug. 6 as the MLS All-Stars defeated Bayern Munich 2-1 in Portland. Assisted C.J. Sapong's goal in a 4-1 win over Toronto FC on Aug. 16. Assisted Dom Dwyer's goal in a 2-1 loss at New York on Sept. 6. Was named to MLS Team of the Week (Week 27) after Assisting Dom Dwyer's goal and scoring a goal in a 4-0 win over Chivas USA on Sept. 12. Scored an MLS Goal of the Week winner and assisted Dom Dwyer's goal in a 2-0 win over Chicago on Oct. 10. MLS Playoffs: Played 90 minutes in a 2-1 loss at New York in the Eastern Conference Knockout Round (Oct. 30). CCL: Played 90 minutes in both 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal legs vs. Cruz Azul. Assisted Benny Feilhaber's goal in the second leg at Cruz Azul on March 19. Started three matches (240 minutes) in the 2014-15 group stage. Open Cup: Did not feature.
2013: Zusi was named a 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star as well as the Sporting KC Team MVP and Offensive Player of the Year. The No. 1 ranked midfielder in the Castrol Index, a performance index used by Major League Soccer that grades each action of the player on the field. MLS: Zusi appeared in 27 matches (26 starts) and tallied six goals and eight assists. Zusi scored the game-tying goal against the Philadelphia Union in the 2013 MLS season opening match finishing a rebound from Benny Feilhaber's shot (video). Zusi notched the game-winning assist in the 66th minute on a free kick (video) and added an assist on an insurance goal in the 83rd minute (video) of the 3-1 victory at PPL Park. Zusi earned his third assist and second game-winning assist with a 1-0 win on the road against New York (video). Zusi recorded a goal and an assist in a 4-0 home win over Chivas USA on May 5 (video). Zusi assisted on Ike Opara's goal in a 1-1 draw at D.C United on May 19 (video). Zusi scored the game-winning goal (named MLS Goal of the Week) in a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire on July 7 (video). Assisted on Ike Opara's stoppage-time winner against Real Salt Lake on July 20 (video). Sealed a 2-1 win over Colorado with an 88th minute left-footed strike at Sporting Park (video). Assisted on C.J. Sapong's first goal against Toronto FC on September 21 when his long-ball into the penalty box found the head of Dom Dwyer (video). Assisted on Ike Opara's game-winning goal in the first half of a 1-0 win over Columbus on October 5 (video). Zusi scored the game's first goal (and his first MLS headed goal) in a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union on October 26 (video). Playoffs: Started all five MLS Cup Playoff matches. Assisted on Sinovic's game-tying goal in the Eastern Conference semifinal series vs. New England the Aurelien Collin's game-tying goal in the MLS Cup Final vs. Real Salt Lake. CCL: Appeared in three of four 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League group stage matches. Assisted on Soony Saad's game-winning goal in a 2-0 win over Olimpia on August 27 and Jacob Peterson's game-tying goal in a 1-1 draw vs. Real Esteli on September 17. Open Cup: Did not feature.
2012: After earning MLS Breakout Player of the Year for his performance during the 2011 MLS season, Zusi wasted no time living up to the honor in 2012. Zusi notched six assists and a goal in the first six games of the 2012 regular season. At the conclusion of the regular season, Zusi leads Sporting Kansas City and Major League Soccer in assists with 15. This mark is the third most assists in a single-season in Kansas City’s club history. In addition, Zusi’s League leading five game-winning assists in 2012 match the single-season club record. Zusi leads the League in corner kicks at the conclusion of the regular season with 150 corner kicks, most by a Sporting Kansas City player in club history and third most in MLS history behind Brad Davis (172 in 2011) and Marco Etcheverry (198 in 1998).. Zusi was named a 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star, 2012 MLS Best XI, and 2012 Volkswagen Most Valuable Player Finalist.
2011: Secured a starting place and clocked 2,329 minutes in 32 games for Sporting Kansas City. Notched five goals and seven assists, a team high, and played in all three playoff games for Sporting, including the Eastern Conference Final. Recorded game-winning assists in three straight matches in June and was named MLS Player of the Month. Scored twice in 3-1 win over Portland on August 17, his second multi-goal game of the season, and was named MLS Player of the Week and earned the MLS Goal of the Week for his distance strike in the same match. He was named to the MLS Team of the Week for week 31. Provided both assists to the 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids in the second leg of the playoffs on Nov. 2.
2010: Made 19 appearances in his second year with the club, starting 4 games. He scored his first professional goal against the expansion Philadelphia Union. Also entered as a second-half substitute in Kansas City’s 2-1 win over Manchester United during summer friendly and started in U.S. Open Cup play-in match against Colorado.
2009: Selected 23rd overall in the 2nd round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. Made 13 appearances as a rookie, starting five games. Recorded his first assist in MLS in the last game of the season, as he fed Kei Kamara for the team’s first goal against D.C. United.
NATIONAL TEAM (55 caps, 5 goals, 7 assists):
2012: Zusi was invited to United States Men’s National Team’s 2012 January camp in preparation for two friendlies against Venezuela and Panama. He went on to start both matches and scored the lone goal in the win over Panama. Zusi started three matches in the third round of CONCACAF 2014 World Cup Qualifying including a win over 3-1 Guatemala on October 16, 2012 in Kansas City, KS. He played significant minutes in the teams 1-0 victory over Mexico during a friendly at Azteca Stadium and earned an assist in the 2-1 victory over Jamaica.
2013: Called into the 2013 USMNT January Camp along with Sporting KC teammates Benny Feilhaber and Matt Besler. Zusi started in the January 29 international friendly against Canada. He earned his eighth USMNT cap during the final round World Cup Qualifying against Honduras on Feburary 6, 2013. Zusi started in the 1-0 win over Costa Rica on March 22, 2013 in Colorado. Zusi also started for the squad against Mexico at Estadio Azteca on March 26, 2013. He helped the team to a 0-0 draw against Mexico, marking only the second time in USMNT history that the team has earned a point at Estadio Azteca in World Cup Qualifying history. Zusi started, played 56 minutes and notched his second international assist in a 4-3 win over Germany at RFK Stadium (June 2, 2013). Zusi played 90 minutes and assisted on Jozy Altidore's goal in a 2-1 World Cup qualifier win over Jamaica (June 7, 2013). Played 74 minutes of USMNT's 1-0 World Cup quaifying win over Honduras on June 18. Started and played 58 minutes in 3-1 World Cup qualifying loss to Costa Rice on September 6 and came off the bench for final six minutes of 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Meico on September 10. Played final two matches of Hex to help the USMNT secure first-place in the group. Came off the bench at halftime to score the game-winning goal in a 2-0 win over Jamaica at Sporting Park on October 11. Scored the game-tying goal in stoppage-time in the USMNT's 3-2 win over Panama on October 15.
2014: Was one of five Sporting KC players called into the 2014 USMNT January camp. Started and had a hand in both goals as the USMNT defeated Korea Republic 2-0 on Feb. 1. Named to roster for April 2 international friendly against Mexico. Named to the final 23-man roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup on May 22. Appeared in pre-World Cup friendly victories over Azerbaijan (2-0) on May 27, Turkey (2-1) on June 1, and Nigeria (2-1) on June 7, starting against Azerbaijan and Turkey. Appeared in a 1-1 friendly draw against Honduras on Oct. 14, starting and playing 64 minutes.
2014 FIFA WORLD CUP: Played 13 minutes in a 2-1 win over Ghana, providing the game-winning assist to John Brooks with a corner kick in the 86th minute. Played 91 minutes in a 2-2 draw against Portugal, assisting Clint Dempsey's 81st-minute goal with a cross from the left side of the six-yard box. Played 84 minutes in a 1-0 loss to Germany on June 26. Started and played 72 minutes in a 2-1 extra time loss to Belgium in the Round of 16.
2015: Earned his first cap of 2015 with a start in a 4-0 friendly win over Guatemala on July 3, playing 45 minutes in the Yanks' lone tune-up for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Was a second-half substitute against Honduras as the U.S. opened Gold Cup play with a 2-1 win on July 7. Started and played the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 win over Haiti on July 10 as the U.S. clinched first place in Group A with one group stage match to spare. Started and played 60 minutes in a penalty shootout loss following a 1-1 draw with Panama in the CONCACAF Gold Cup third place game on July 25.
2016: Scored the fourth goal of his international career in a 4-0 win over Guatemala on March 29 in World Cup qualifying. Started and played 87 minutes in a 1-0 friendly win over Ecuador on May 25. Played 17 minutes as a second-half substitute in a 4-0 friendly win over Bolivia on May 28. Started and played 90 minutes in a 6-0 win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 2. Played 13 minutes as a second-half substitute in a 4-0 World Cup qualifying defeat at Costa Rica on Nov. 15. 2016 COPA AMERICA CENTENARIO: Played four minutes as a second-half substitute in a 2-0 defeat to Colombia in the Copa America Centenario opener on June 3. Played 20 minutes as a second-half substitute in a 4-0 victory over Costa Rica on June 7, netting his fifth U.S. goal to complete the scoring. Played 15 minutes as a second-half substitute in the Group A finale, a 1-0 win over Paraguay on June 11. Played nine minutes as a second-half substitute in a 2-1 quarterfinal win over Ecuador on June 16. Started and played 90 minutes in a 4-0 semifinal defeat to Argentina on June 21.
2017: Started and played 90 minutes in a 0-0 friendly draw versus Serbia on Jan. 29. Started and captained the side for the first time in his international career, playing 68 minutes in a 1-0 friendly win over Jamaica on Feb. 3. Played 31 minutes as a second-half substitute in a 6-0 World Cup qualifying win over Honduras on March 24, contributing to the shutout as a right back. Started and played 90 minutes in a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw at Panama on March 28. Appeared as a 90th-minute substitute in a 1-1 friendly draw against Venezuela on June 3. Appeared as a 92nd-minute substitute in a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw at Mexico on June 11 in Mexico City's vaunted Estadio Azteca. Started and played 90 minutes in a 2-1 friendly win over Ghana on July 1. Started and played 84 minutes in a 2-0 World Cup qualifying loss to Costa Rica on Sept. 1. Started and played 63 minutes in a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw at Honduras on Sept. 5. CONCACAF Gold Cup: Was named to head coach Bruce Arena's 23-man roster for the tournament. Started and played 90 minutes in a 1-1 group stage draw against Panama on July 8, becoming the first player to record 50 U.S. MNT caps all while playing for Sporting KC. Started and played 90 minutes in a 3-0 group stage win against Nicaragua on July 15, assisting Matt Miazga's late goal to help the U.S. finish atop Group B. Started and played 90 minutes in a 2-0 semifinal win over Costa Rica on July 22. Started and played 90 minutes in a 2-1 victory over Jamaica on July 26 as the U.S. MNT was crowned 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup champion.
COLLEGE: Played four seasons at the University of Maryland. Played in 89 games (65 starts), recording 28 goals and 20 assists during his college career. Helped Maryland win the National Championship in 2005 and 2008, scoring the game-winning goal in the 2008 National Semi-Final and Championship Games. Was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player in the 2008 College Cup.
YOUTH: Three-time team captain for coach Danny Kirby at Lake Brantley High School. Netted 18 goals and 20 assists while helping his team to the district title. Named Orlando Sentinel Central Florida and Seminole County Player of the Year as a junior, scoring 25 goals and 15 assists, helping Lake Brantley to the state semifinals. two-time All-County and team MVP. Poured in 34 goals and added 27 assists as a sophomore. Tallied 98 goals and 77 assists during his high school career. Member of the Region III ODP team and was the team’s leading scorer at the Tournament of Champions. Member of the adidas inter-regional ODP all-star team. Also excelled at lacrosse.
PERSONAL: Has two younger sisters and one older brother who all play soccer. In his free time, Zusi enjoys spending time with his family and doing outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping. He also enjoys other sports that he played growing up, such as lacrosse, basketball and tennis. Listens to all types of music, especially indie rock. One of Zusi’s all-time favorite movies is Tommy Boy. Lists Zinedine Zidane and Chance Myers as his favorite soccer players, and enjoys watching Liverpool FC. Gameday traditions include breakfast at Simply Breakfast with chocolate chip pancakes, breakfast potatoes, turkey sausage and a gallon of water. Lists his top soccer memories as winning the College Cup with Maryland, playing in the opening match of Sporting Park and scoring for the U.S. Men's National Team.