Countdown to Kickoff | 26 Days: Manager Peter Vermes set for 12th season at the helm

For the first time in the 25-year history of Major League Soccer, the month of February will mark the start of regular season play. On Feb. 29, clubs across the United States and Canada will step between the white lines with hopes of collecting three points to begin 2020.

A delectable opening day of MLS action will see Sporting Kansas City visit Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 9:30 p.m. CT, giving supporters their first real look at Manager Peter Vermes’ side since last October.

As the anticipated date approaches, SportingKC.com will roll out a 28-day countdown to first kick, offering a comprehensive preview of the season ahead. From key storylines and positional breakdowns to new fan initiatives and perks at Children’s Mercy Park, our Countdown to Kickoff series will highlight the many reasons to be pumped for Sporting’s 2020 campaign. To visit the series homepage as it expands, head to SportingKC.com/countdown.


Sporting Kansas City will enter 2020 with one of Major League Soccer's most experienced and successful managers at the helm.

Peter Vermes' exceptional service to the sport of soccer spans more than three decades, highlighted by a standout playing career at the MLS and international levels and a historic, trophy-laden coaching career in Kansas City.

Since ending a storied playing career that included a 1990 FIFA World Cup appearance with the U.S. Men's National Team and a 2000 MLS Cup title with the Wizards, Vermes has embraced a leading role in helping transform Kansas City into an American soccer hotbed.

In November 2006, two months after Sporting Club purchased the Wizards from the Hunt Sports Group, Vermes was named the club's Technical Director to oversee all soccer operations. In 2009, he became Kansas City’s manager and began what is now the longest coaching tenure at a single club in MLS history. Among his biggest coaching accolades at Sporting, Vermes has hoisted one MLS Cup and three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles en route to becoming the league’s fifth-winningest coach all-time with 143 regular season victories. Sporting’s eight-year playoff streak under his guidance, spanning from 2011-2018, is the fourth-longest run in MLS history.

Vermes led Sporting to first-place finishes in the Eastern Conference in 2011 and 2012 as well as their first trophy in eight years with the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title. An MLS Coach of the Year finalist in 2011 and 2012, Vermes enjoyed a banner year in 2013. He was selected into the National Soccer Hall of Fame and coached the MLS All-Stars during the 2013 MLS All-Star Game at Children’s Mercy Park, all before leading his team to the 2013 MLS Cup championship with a penalty shootout win over Real Salt Lake on home soil. This accomplishment made Vermes the only person to win MLS Cup as a player and a coach with the same club.

After guiding his side to the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title, Vermes became an inaugural recipient of the U.S. Soccer Federation Pro Coaching License in 2016. Sporting were dominant defensively in 2017—securing another U.S. Open Cup while conceding the fewest goals in MLS—before enjoying a historic offensive campaign in 2018. Vermes’ team set club records for goals (65), assists (69) and goal differential (+25) en route to a first-place finish in the Western Conference and a run to the Western Conference Championship.

At the end of 2018, Vermes won the inaugural MLS Sporting Executive of the Year award for his exemplary leadership, dedication and strategic vision in guiding Sporting to success as well as his role in the development of the world-class Pinnacle National Development Center, the new training home of Sporting. Under his guidance, Sporting also received 2018 MLS Academy of the Year accolades for exemplary player development. Last spring, he led Sporting to the Concacaf Champions League Semifinals, the club’s best-ever finish in North America’s premier club tournament.

Vermes and Sporting will kick off the 2020 MLS regular season on Feb. 29 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC before hosting rivals Houston Dynamo in the club’s home opener on March 7.

The best way to guarantee tickets for 2020 home matches is to join the Sporting Kansas City family and become a Season Ticket Member. Several multi-game ticket packages for the 2020 campaign are also on sale, including the limited-time Home Opener Pack that bundles the game on March 7 with two flex matches. Single-game tickets for the first 10 fixtures on Sporting’s home schedule will go on sale to the general public this Friday, Feb. 7, via SeatGeek.com.

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