Preseason Countdown presented by Children's Mercy - 7 Days

Preseason Countdown presented by Children's Mercy: 7 Days until MLS is Back

As Sporting Kansas City prepares for its 26th season as a charter member of Major League Soccer, SportingKC.com is rolling out a 26-day countdown to the start of the 2021 campaign. A mouthwatering opening weekend of MLS action will see Sporting Kansas City visit the New York Red Bulls at 7 p.m. CT on April 17, giving supporters their first look at Manager Peter Vermes’ side since last December.

The 2021 Preseason Countdown, presented by Children’s Mercy, serves as the comprehensive, go-to preview of everything that awaits Sporting Kansas City in the weeks and months to come. From key storylines and bold predictions to statistical breakdowns and players to watch, the 2021 Preseason Countdown highlights the many reasons to be excited for what’s ahead. To visit the series homepage as it expands, head to SportingKC.com/2021countdown.


Before we get reacquainted with the Sporting Kansas City technical staff, please take note: Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes already has his very own article in the countdown series. You can read up on Sporting's legendary head coach by clicking here.

With that in mind, let's get familiar with the rest of the club's technical staff in the space below.

Kerry Zavagnin | Assistant Coach

Like Vermes, Zavagnin has become an institution at Sporting. The 13th-year assistant coach has spent each of the last 21 seasons with the club, serving as a standout midfielder from 2000-2008 before taking his current role in 2009. Remarkably enough, he is the only individual who has played or coached for the same club in every MLS season this century. That's something worth appreciating in a major way.

Zoran Savic | Assistant Coach

Savic was named an assistant at the same time Vermes began his managerial stint in 2009. His impressive career as a player and coach spans more than three decades, including a prolific goal scoring ledger with the Kansas City Comets and an assistant role with Chivas USA in 2007.

Alec Dufty | Goalkeeper Coach

A former MLS player who began his professional career with the New York Red Bulls, Dufty arrived in Kansas City in 2016 as the Sporting KC II goalkeeper coach. He was promoted to the first team role in 2017, the same year Tim Melia landed MLS Goalkeeper of the Year honors.

Joey Harty | Director, Sports Performance & Science

As the head fitness coach, Harty manages all aspects of the club’s performance department from the academy to the senior team. He also oversees day-to-day training plans on and off the field, including work in the weight room, soccer session planning, on-field movement training, data analysis and more.

Benny Feilhaber | Director, Technical Operations

A new member of Sporting's technical staff, Feilhaber has returned to the club where he enjoyed the greatest period of his heralded professional playing career. The former U.S. international and World Cup veteran ended his playing tenure at Sporting with 35 goals and 58 assists in 198 competitive appearances, winning an MLS Cup and two Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles as one of the best midfielders in the league.

Brian Bliss | Technical Director & Vice President, Player Personnel

A World Cup and Olympic veteran for the United States Men’s National Team, Bliss oversees player personnel matters while assisting in domestic and international scouting. He also shares a player assessment role for Sporting KC II and the Sporting KC Academy. He ended his MLS playing career in 1998 with the Kansas City Wizards and served as an assistant coach for the team from 2000-2006.

Meghan Cameron | Assistant Director, Player Personnel

Entering her fourth season with the club, Cameron specializes in roster and budget management while also holding a player development and scouting role for the first team, Sporting KC II and the Sporting KC Academy. She brings a wealth of knowledge and professional experience from her previous role as Senior Manager of Player Relations at Major League Soccer.

Ash Wallace | Tactical Analyst

Wallace has served as Sporting's Tactical Analyst since 2012, aiding the first team coaching staff in a variety of roles. The England native helps scout and develop game plans for upcoming opponents, assists in planning and executing training sessions and provides valuable analysis for coaches and players regarding strategy.

Kurt Andrews | Director of Sports Medicine

Andrews arrived in Kansas City ahead of the 2018 season after six years as the LA Galaxy’s assistant athletic trainer, during which time he was part of two MLS Cup championship teams. The Michigan native oversees Sporting’s staff of sports medicine experts and works in tandem with Children's Mercy Hospital on a variety of initiatives from the first team to the Academy.

For a comprehensive look at Sporting's extended technical staff, click here.

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