Peter Vermes isn’t one to focus on impressive stats or personal accolades.
That mindset didn't change even after becoming the winningest manager in club history as Sporting Kansas City took down rivals Real Salt Lake in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal Wednesday evening.
It's been a recording-breaking season thus far for Sporting KC: Vermes's side is in the midst of their longest home unbeaten streak, and they've set U.S. Open Cup attendance records in the 4th and 5th round, quarterfinals, and semifinals. But those achievements hardly cross manager Vermes's mind.
"Honestly, I really don’t pay much attention to those things," Vermes said. "The thing I care about is winning; I want to win championships."
That he has—and veterans Matt Besler and Chance Myers are witnesses to the positive impact Sporting's winningest manager has had on the organization.
"He’s given this team and club an identity," said Besler, who, like Myers, began his Kansas City career as a Wizard and lived through the rebranding.
"It’s a huge accomplishment for him," Myers said. "I don’t think he thinks about it. We don’t think about it until we see the record. It’s not surprising—the way he trains us everyday, the way we go out and perform every weekend, it’s special, and it’s definitely deserving."
Since receiving the permanent manager gig late in 2009 (he spent part of that season as interim manager following Onalfo's contract termination), Vermes had led his team to four playoff runs, a U.S. Open Cup championship (2012), and an MLS Cup victory (in 2013).
"In the world of pro sports, job security isn’t very high," Besler said. "I think it speaks a lot about him that he’s been here for so long."
Myers, who was drafted by Vermes in 2008, agreed with Besler that the longevity of Vermes's role in Kansas City combined with consistency in his managerial style have been crucial in the team's success.
"It’s trust. He builds this relationship with all his players he brings in . . . He teaches them, but once we’re on the field, it’s all up to us. When you have the coach’s trust and the coach has your trust, good things happen."