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Vermes on MLS Expansion: “We’re going to go to 40 [teams in MLS]”

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Vermes: “At one point I thought we were going to go to 32, I guarantee we aren’t stopping there.”

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Sporting KC Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you are fully aware that Major League Soccer is expanding at a ridiculous rate. In 1996 there were 10 teams. Up to 2006 they had only grown to 12 teams. When the league kicks off in March of 2019 there will be 24 teams. And there are still teams coming to Miami, Nashville and Austin in the next couple of seasons.

MLS Commissioner, Don Garber, has long said the league will grow to 28 teams. I’m not sure anyone believes they are stopping at that point. One person who definitely doesn’t believe that is Sporting Kansas City head coach and sporting director Peter Vermes.

In an interview with Kevin Kietzman of Between The Lines on 810 WHB, Kietzman asked, “any concern the league is expanding too fast?” Vermes didn’t respond with concern, but rather excitement.

“At one point I thought we were going to go to 32, I guarantee we aren’t stopping there,” started Vermes. “We’re gonna go to 40. Yeah, we’re going to go to 40 I bet. That’s my prediction. That’s not me having any insight or whatever. I just think that there are so many different owners that are lining up to be involved. With all the work that the teams and the clubs are doing in MLS around their academies and everything. The development of the player is really starting to hit its stride.”

He finished by adding, “it’s going to be the biggest league in the world at some point.”

Kevin Kietzman responded emphatically. “That’s going to be the hardest trophy in the world to win,” said Kietzman. “40 teams? Are you kidding me? It’s going to be hard man.”

Without hesitation, Vermes added, “We’ll be there.” Gotta love that confidence!

Whether it’s a good idea to grow that much is another thing entirely. I’m not sure it’s a good idea, but I did a fun thought experiment around it and promotion and relegation a few years ago.

That’s not all Vermes talked about in the interview. The full recording is below.

Vermes also talks about:

  • Champions League
  • Johnny Russell and other players workload
  • Having two hats to wear: Coach and Sporting Director
  • Squad Depth
  • Making signings for 2019 in 2018
  • Kelyn Rowe
  • Botond Barath
  • The role of his staff
  • Pinnacle
  • New Heating System at Children’s Mercy Park
  • Changes in where talent is coming from and will come from
  • Playoff format changes, away goals, etc.

Here is the full interview.