Like most of us during the coronavirus pandemic, much of Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes' day to day life, both personally and professionally, has been temporarily altered.
But one part of his job description has remained constant: Scouting and player recruitment.
“That never stops, it doesn’t matter if it’s COVID-19," Vermes told reporters on a video call Wednesday.
With no new games to scout and analyze, you'd think there might be fewer potential transfer targets to identify. You'd be wrong.
“I’m kind of amazed at the number of players I’m presented," Vermes said. "It’s funny as this continues to stretch out, I keep getting more and more players. I think it’s telling you that people are starting to feel like we’re coming out of this.”
Sporting had one of the busier offseasons in MLS as they tried to rectify disappointment from 2019, adding center backs Roberto Puncec and Winston Reid, forward Khiry Shelton and midfielder Gadi Kinda, among others.
The crown jewel was Alan Pulido, as Sporting dipped into Mexico to shatter their previous club record transfer fee.
“Whenever we’re recruiting and trying to bring players in, there’s a lot of different characteristics we’re looking for," Vermes said. "We have specific countries we’re looking at because we think either the way they play in that country fits us or the mentality of the players in that country fits us.”
Pulido had a near-perfect start at Sporting before the league paused, scoring twice and contributing an assist as Sporting won both games and found the net seven times. Off the field, Pulido's character has been everything Vermes hoped for.
“Alan has a fantastic attitude and strong mentality, it’s one of the reasons why we were so interested in him," Vermes said. "We thought he’d fit very well within our club. I know it’s only two games, but he’s already surpassed those expectations. He’s a fantastic guy, he’s already adapted to the culture of the club and the team.”