Sporting Kansas City announced on Thursday that Andy Gruenebaum will join the club’s front office for the 2015 season as a color commentator on SKCTV broadcasts and as a Sporting Club Network Liaison for youth soccer initiatives. The Overland Park, Kansas native concluded a nine-year professional career in 2014 having appeared in 93 MLS matches (including postseason) with 311 saves.
"It was a tough decision to hang up the boots but at the end of the day, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to stay in KC and be a part of this amazing club," said Gruenebaum. "I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family for all their support first and foremost, as well my sincere appreciation for all the great players, coaches and fans I have encountered throughout my career in both Columbus and Kansas City. I look forward to being a part of the growth that Major League Soccer will achieve in years to come and the sport's continued success here in my hometown."
Gruenebaum will join play-by-play announcer Nate Bukaty for SKCTV’s coverage of Sporting Kansas City matches during the team’s highly-anticipated 20th season in 2015. In addition, Jake Yadrich will return to SKCTV as a network host and sideline reporter to provide in-game interviews and updates from field level.
The 32-year-old Gruenebaum will also fulfill an important role as a Liaison between the Sporting Club Network and it’s 59 affiliate members. Gruenebaum completed his USSF National “B” License Course last month and he will assist in developing a youth soccer curriculum for use throughout the network. His goalkeeping expertise and experience in Major League Soccer will be utilized at youth camps/clinics, Academy Affiliate All-Star events and via visits to the SCN’s 13 Academy Affiliates throughout the Midwest.
In 2014, Gruenebaum made 14 starts across all competitions (8-4-2) for Sporting Kansas City with four shutouts and a 1.19 goals against average. His .636 winning percentage during the regular season ranks fourth best on the club’s all-time single-season charts and his 73.91 save percentage ranked third in 2014 among MLS goalkeepers with more than 10 regular season appearances. Gruenebaum closed out the campaign with a career-best 308-minute shutout streak.
One of three goalkeepers from the Kansas City area to reach Major League Soccer, Gruenebaum was a state champion and Kansas Player of the Year at Blue Valley North High School. He then attended the University of Kentucky (2001-2005), where he holds the school records for saves (264) and shutouts (22) after earning first team all-conference honors in each of three seasons as a starter. During his collegiate career, he also led the Des Moines Menace to the 2005 Premier Development League National Championship and was named the final’s Most Valuable Player.
Gruenebaum became the first Wildcat ever drafted by a Major League Soccer club when the Columbus Crew selected him third overall in the 2006 Supplemental Draft. He spent eight seasons with Columbus, highlighted by an MLS Cup championship in 2008 and back-to-back Supporters’ Shield titles (2008, 2009). He led all MLS goalkeepers with a 124 saves in 2012 while also setting career-high marks in wins (13) and shutouts (8) en route to earning team MVP and Defender of the Year honors.
Gruenebaum currently lives in Overland Park, Kansas with his wife, Lacey, of five years.