Sporting Kansas City will induct former midfielder Chris Klein into the club’s Sporting Legends hall of honor on Saturday at Sporting Park with an on-field ceremony at halftime of the team’s match against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
“This is very well-deserved recognition for Kleiny in a career full of achievements,” said Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes, a teammate of Klein’s from 2000-2002. “Chris has dedicated his life to growing Major League Soccer and has always been a tireless ambassador for the sport. He has left a lasting legacy in Kansas City’s soccer scene and we’re thrilled to welcome him back.”
Klein joins six previous inductees in Sporting Legends, an initiative launched in 2013 to pay tribute to club icons and provide a platform for honorees to re-engage with the local soccer community. Klein was selected via an online vote that featured four finalists.
SPORTING LEGENDS INDUCTEES
Class of 2013: Preki, Tony Meola, Bob Gansler
Class of 2014: Peter Vermes, Jimmy Conrad, Lamar Hunt
Class of 2015: Chris Klein
A St. Louis native, Klein was selected fourth overall by the then-Wizards in the 1998 MLS College Draft and began his professional career with eight seasons in Kansas City. He won all three major domestic trophies during his KC career, leading the club to the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup double in 2000 with the game-winning assist in the team’s first MLS Cup championship before adding a U.S. Open Cup title in 2004.
Klein contributed 43 goals and 54 assists in 235 games played for KC across all competition from 1998-2005, placing him second on the club’s all-time chart with 97 combined goals and assists. He won MLS Comeback Player of the Year honors twice (2002, 2005) and was an MLS All-Star in four straight seasons from 2002-2005.
On the field, Klein was named the team’s Most Valuable Player in 2001 and twice led the team in assists (2001 and 2004), while also finishing the 2002 season as the team’s top scorer. Off the field, Klein was chosen Kansas City’s Humanitarian of the Year in 2002 and 2003 for his active involvement in charitable causes.
Klein continued his 13-year MLS playing career with Real Salt Lake (2006-2007) and the LA Galaxy (2007-2010), claiming a second Supporters’ Shield title in his final season. His run of 118 consecutive starts – spanning from June 2005 with Kansas City to April 2009 with the LA Galaxy – remains an all-time MLS record. Overall, Klein made 353 MLS career appearances (including postseason) with 52 goals and 73 assists.
In addition to his success at the club level, Klein scored five goals in 22 international appearances for the United States Men’s National Team from 2000-2006 and was a member of the U.S. MNT at the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup. Since retiring in 2010, Klein has appeared on the National Soccer Hall of Fame Player Ballot in 2014 and 2015.
Klein is currently the President of the LA Galaxy, a position he has held since 2013 after serving as Senior Director of the Galaxy Academy in 2011 and the club’s Vice President in 2012. He has been named to the Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 each of the past two years as one of the top executives in the sports and entertainment industry.
In addition to being recognized at Sporting Park on Saturday night, Klein will participate in multiple activities this week to connect with the club's growing fan base, foster the development of soccer in the Kansas City area and leave a philanthropic impact on the community.
Klein will make a special appearance at Children’s Mercy Hospital (2401 Gillham Rd., Kansas City, MO) from 2-3 p.m. CT on Friday to visit with patients in conjunction with The Victory Project. He will also attend the Sporting KC Academy Affiliate All-Star Experience from 4-6 p.m. CT at Swope Soccer Village (6310 Lewis Rd., Kansas City, MO) on Friday to meet with top players from youth soccer clubs across the Midwest region.