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Robb Heineman and Jake Reid Comment on a Wide Range of Topics

From the non-purchase of FC Kansas City to new players coming in, Sporting KC’s CEO and President take the time to answers questions from the fans.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Sporting KC Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

If it hasn’t become clear to you buy now, Sporting Kansas City have one of the best ownership groups in all of sports. From buying beer for the fans, being more transparent than other MLS clubs to just generally being accountable, it’s a model a lot of other clubs could learn from.

In that vein, while Sporting KC CEO Robb Heineman and SKC President Jake Reid were flying to the season opening game against D.C. United, Heineman sent out a call to the fans to ask them anything, or as he calls it, a #TweetnFly. This was the first time I can recall Reid being a part of it, but some interesting nuggets of information came out from both parties.

FC Kansas City and Sporting Club

One of the biggest pieces of news came from Reid in regard to the sale of FC Kansas City to a businessman in Minnesota.

When asked why SKC allowed that to happen, Reid responded “wasn’t our choice, had no control over who they sold to.” That sure makes it seem like Sporting Kansas City tried to buy FC Kansas City. The ownership group that previously owned the team have had all sorts of problems over the last year which may have prompted the sale of the club. The dysfunction within the prior ownership group may have led to the sale to an unknown out of town entity over a known entity like SKC. That’s a shame since some of the NWSL teams owned by MLS teams seem the best run in the league.

Reid went on to say that they have done a lot to support women’s soccer including, “several youth initiatives... more in the works. Our mission is to support all youth soccer.”

Graham Zusi at RB

The first soccer related question that Heineman answered was about Graham Zusi and his Designated Player contract. The question was around if Zusi was so crucial that SKC would still be willing to pay him like a DP. The answer was very sneaking in saying, “I think it’s a great evolution for Zues. The salary cap is always tricky but we’ll manage.”

In other words, ‘what choice does the team have?’ He’s being paid what he’s being paid and potentially his best chance to help the team is at right fullback. Obviously, if the team could do it over again, I doubt they’d give him a contract that big. Hindsight is always 20/20.

Vermes and the USMNT

When asked about Peter Vermes potentially becoming the United States Men’s National Team head coach one day and if he’d fight to keep him with the club, Heineman responded, “I think he will for sure some day. It’d be an honor to have him coach them.” That seems right along with SKC’s philosophy around players wanting to take opportunities to go abroad.

EPB and Homegrown Players

A question that was on the tongue of many of us around here was if Erik Palmer-Brown will still be with the team in the future. With his year-long loan to Porto B in Portugal, many seemed to think it wouldn’t be long until EPB was sold. Heineman thinks otherwise responding that the team had a pretty good chance of keeping him a year from now and that “I think he wants to be here and we want him.”

As for the other Homegrown players, Heineman was asked if EPB will be on the bench and why “we’re the only club not playing our kids.” In stark contrast to that fans thoughts, Heineman replied, “He’ll [EPB] play plenty. Obviously Kevin [Ellis] and Daniel [Salloi] will too. Also Medranda came here when he was 19 and [Latif] Blessing is 19 as well. Plenty of youth.”

Now obviously Robb doesn’t set the starting lineup, but it seems like the kids should be getting on the field this year. With lots of possible National Team absences, there should be plenty of minutes to go around.

Kriszten Nemeth’s Return

A lot has been said recently about a potential Nemeth return to MLS. When asked point blank if Nemeth “had come knocking recently,” Heineman responded with a simple “no.” That probably doesn’t shut the door on the rumors, but it should. Nemeth would require a large transfer fee to return right now, which would mean another Designated Player spot. Sporting can still buy down the contracts of Zusi or Espinoza if they have enough TAM/GAM. As Vermes has said in the past, the team likes to win on both ends of a deal. Selling and buying. They won’t overpay.

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