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Vermes: “I was offered to go to the LA Galaxy”

10 years as Sporting KC’s head coach but it could have been much different.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Sporting Kansas City Peter G. Aiken

In an interview with Daniel Sperry, Sporting Kansas City head coach and sporting director Peter Vermes talked about a lot of subjects. But one subject that stood out above the others stretches all the way back to 2008.

“I think one of the things that tells this story the best, in 2008 I was offered to go to the LA Galaxy,” Vermes said.

Sperry asked if it was to be the coach and Vermes confirmed that wasn’t the case.

“No, to be the vice president of all their soccer operations worldwide, and then be the GM for the LA Galaxy,” Vermes said. “I chose not to do it. I know Mr. Anschutz [the Galaxy’s owner], I played for him in Colorado. He has a great family and is a great man and I had a great relationship with him, it was just that I had started something here and I wanted to see it through, and I believed in the vision and ideas that we had and what we wanted to become.”

At the time, Vermes was only the technical director for Sporting KC. In a story last year to the KC Star, Vermes told the story of how he came to work for SKC. He was just a youth coach in Overland Park at the time and co-owner Robb Heineman had Peter in for a meeting under the guise that it was about running some youth fields.

Vermes was so impressive in that meeting that three days later Heineman asked him what job he wanted at Sporting. Vermes indicated he wanted to be the head coach but Heineman replied, “You can’t be the coach, because I gotta fire that guy. And I don’t wanna fire you.”

From there, he became the technical director, but apparently the Los Angeles Galaxy saw his potential too. In 2009, PV got his chance to take the job he wanted. He was the interim coach in 2009 and became the full-time head coach in 2010.

He’s gone on to have unparalleled success. He’s won one MLS Cup and three U.S. Open Cups. He’s also brought SKC to the MLS Cup Playoffs for eight straight seasons, though that’s on the verge of being broken this season as the team is struggling with 10 games to go.

Other Items of Note

Sperry’s story doesn’t just talk about the LA Galaxy job offer, but instead Vermes offers several other interesting quotes and it’s worth a read. Here are a few that stood out to me.

  • “In 13 years, cumulatively I haven’t spent on transfer fees over $4 million,” said Vermes when comparing SKC’s spending to Inter Miami CF’s reported $23 million in spending on just two players. In fairness to Vermes, he makes it clear he’d like to spend but it’s tough to bring people to Kansas City. There were reports that Gerso Fernandes and Yohan Croizet both had transfer fees of $1.5 million with Johnny Russell getting a tiny fee in the neighborhood of $250,000. That accounts for nearly all the spending on fees and that’s just in the last few seasons.
  • “Obviously we’re going to have to spend more, right?” Vermes said. “But you’ve got to remember, if you’re spending more, everyone else is spending more.” It goes back to the trouble of getting people to play in Kansas. “There are a lot of guys that, first off, don’t want to come to Kansas,” Vermes told The Blue Testament in preseason. “They don’t know where it is, what it is, they think people are riding horses. They really do. Now, no problem if I can get a player here on a recruiting trip, then it’s totally different. I can sell a player in two seconds.”
  • PV on how SKC can be successful the next 10 years: “Winning is for sure, solidifying the pro pathway, and continuing to be – I don’t know what it is,” Vermes mused. ”Is it intelligent? Is it lucky? But to be able to continue finding players that we can get in for a lot lower price and be able to turn them around and build them up and maybe sell them and continue to keep financially ‘bonusing’ ourselves if you will, and keep building our roster that way.”