Continuing our 31 for 31 series of the important stories in Kansas City soccer for 2015...
Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes became the winningest coach in franchise history when his team defeated Real Salt Lake August 12th. Vermes passed his former coach and mentor Bob Gansler for the honor.
It is fitting that the two will be linked in the record books. Vermes won the MLS Cup and Supporters Shield playing for Gansler and frequently credits him with helping form his coaching style. While supremely confident, Vermes hates to focus on his own accomplishments and will spend time deferring questions about himself so he can praise the man he passed.
Vermes took over the team on an interim basis in 2009 when Curt Onalfo was let go. Initially he was looking for a replacement but found that he liked the challenge and started remaking the team in his image.
A quick change to a 4-3-3 formation, a number of players shuffled out and even more were moved later. Throughout the rebuild and the rebrand to Sporting Kansas City, Vermes consistently built the team to be able to press, play hard and run all game. "Sporting Fit" became a buzz word around the league as Vermes' squad would run opponents into the ground.
Under Vermes, Sporting KC has two Open Cups and a MLS Cup and has sold out Sporting Park 70 straight games. With Sporting KC's academy having more success, a growing number of affiliates and the Swope Park Rangers starting next year in USL, Vermes has overseen a turnaround off the field that may eventually eclipse what has happened on the field.