Twenty years ago today, Kerry Zavagnin officially began his legendary tenure at Sporting Kansas City.
An indispensable midfielder from 2000-2008 and an assistant coach since 2009, Zavagnin has spent 20 consecutive seasons with Sporting in either a playing or coaching capacity. Remarkably enough, he is the only person to have played or coached for the same club in every Major League Soccer season this century.
A native of Michigan who starred collegiately at North Carolina, Zavagnin began his illustrious stay in Kansas City as the 30th overall pick in the 2000 MLS SuperDraft on Feb. 6, 2000. He had joined MLS three years earlier, but a quirky league mechanism at the time preserved his eligibility for the 2000 draft after he had spent the 1999 campaign with the second-division Lehigh Valley Steam.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Zavagnin’s first season in Kansas City was a smash hit. Teaming up alongside current Sporting Manager Peter Vermes, he helped the Wizards to a Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup double to kickstart what has become an enormously successful spell in the City of Fountains.
As a player, Zavagnin amassed eight goals and 25 assists in 291 appearances across all competitions. Only Matt Besler and Graham Zusi have played more matches in a Sporting uniform. The holding midfielder went on to hoist the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and earn 21 caps for the United States Men’s National Team before transitioning to an assistant coaching role 11 years ago.
With Zavagnin serving as an assistant to Vermes, Sporting has blossomed into a perennial contender and added four additional titles to the trophy cabinet—the 2013 MLS Cup and a treble of U.S. Open Cups. This means that Zavagnin can lay claim to all seven major championships Sporting has won in its proud history.
Prepped for his 21st consecutive MLS season with the club, Zavagnin will hope to guide Sporting to even greater heights at the dawn of a new decade. The 2020 campaign will commence Feb. 29 when Sporting visits Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 9:30 p.m. CT.
The best way to guarantee tickets for 2020 home matches at world-class Children’s Mercy Park 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 Sporting’s first 10 home contests will go on sale to the general public this Friday at noon CT.