Peter Vermes signs new Sporting KC deal after talks with U.S. Soccer
U.S. Soccer reached out to Peter Vermes about both its general manager and coaching vacancies for the men’s national team, the Sporting Kansas City coach told ESPN, but that didn’t stop him from signing a new long-term deal with his MLS club.
Vermes, who also serves as technical director of Sporting KC, is already the longest-tenured coach in MLS and the team announced on Monday that he has signed on for another five seasons through 2023.
The 51-year-old has been widely linked as a potential candidate to be the next national team coach, and he confirmed that he has been in contact with U.S. Soccer.
“I’m humbled by the [extension] for sure and being given the responsibility to be the steward for this organization all the way through 2023,” Vermes told ESPN.
“I’m extremely humbled by that, and really do appreciate the commitment, but at the same time I think anybody would say that if your national team came-a-calling and wanted for you to be the one that is steering the ship, I don’t know of anybody that would say that wasn’t a humbling position.”
But asked if he had a preference between working for his MLS club and the national team — which he called “two completely different jobs” — he said he would lean toward Sporting KC.
“I would have to say this one right now because I’ve never done the other one,” he said.
Vermes also said he couldn’t be sure if further talks with the national federation could be possible, adding: “That’s not a question for me, that’s a question for other people.”
In 2016, ESPN reported that U.S. Soccer had contacted Vermes as a potential replacement for national team boss Jurgen Klinsmann, though the federation eventually hired the LA Galaxy’s Bruce Arena, who stepped down after failing to qualify the team for the World Cup.
Following the election of new president Carlos Cordeiro in February, U.S. Soccer is conducting a search for the new position of USMNT general manager, before turning attention to a head coach.
Vermes has been Sporting’s manager since 2009 and led the team to the 2013 MLS Cup and three U.S. Open Cup titles during his tenure.
“I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to continue to lead this club,” Vermes said in a team statement announcing his contract extension. “Our ownership group has shown tremendous ambition over the last decade, and I am proud to be involved in a first-class organization that continues to grow and evolve at Sporting KC.”
Vermes was a U.S. international in his playing days, earning 67 caps and appearing at the 1990 World Cup. He also played for Sporting KC for three seasons, winning the MLS Cup in 2000. He was elected to the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in 2013.
Sporting KC is in first place in the Western Conference this season, having won six of its opening 10 games.
“This is a great day for Sporting Kansas City,” co-owner Mike Illig said. “Peter has become one of the most successful managers in the history of Major League Soccer, and we are delighted to extend his contract at the club. This long-term deal shows commitment from the organization and from Peter, who has helped the club accomplish remarkable things on and off the field for the last decade.”
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.