Sporting Legend Mo Johnston hasn’t played in Kansas City since 2001 but he may have just earned a big assist for his old team. According to Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes Johnston was instrumental in helping land new Scottish winger Johnny Russell.
It’s been no secret that Sporting Kansas City wanted to upgrade their attacking options in the offseason and have taken a look at several players. Russell was already on their radar but Johnston gave Sporting KC a call a couple months ago to let Vermes know it was possible.
“It’s been almost two months, we had known about the player before but Mo called and said this could be a reality if you want it to be,” Vermes explained. “He said he had spoken to the player and he had a real interest in coming. We had started the steps to see how feasible that would be because he was still under contract. That was part of the conundrum, do we get him now or in another window. He was a big help in not only us being able to acquire a player but in us getting him now.”
Vermes was very complimentary of Johnston’s help. “He’s been part of the process from the beginning to the end just making sure that everyone was getting the information they needed,” Vermes said. “Whenever a foreign player is making a move to a team if there is somebody they feel comfortable with it just makes that transition that much easier. Mo has been great at that part.”
It sounds like Johnston helped sell his fellow Glasgow native on the move to Kansas City. “Mo did a really good job of explaining and updating him on who Sporting Kansas City is and at the same time there is no doubt in my mind that he wants to be here,” Vermes told reporters. “That became very evident when we had our discussion. He knows a lot about MLS, he comes to Orlando a lot on vacation. This is something he wanted to do, come to MLS.”
Florida weather and amusement parks may have played into both players for Kansas City. One of the reasons Johnston came to MLS when the league started has he already had a home in Orlando.
Russell not only talked to Johnston but it sounds like he also did his research on Kansas City. “By the time I had my conversation with him on the phone he was already telling me he was looking at houses in Overland Park and he needed the Blue Valley School district. He was very in tune with the place he wanted to come to.”