With Sporting Kansas City’s preseason “unofficially” underway, players and coaches have been sitting down for calls with the media. Earlier this week, The Blue Testament brought you quite a bit of information from an interview with SKC Head Coach and Sporting Director, Peter Vermes. One important topic deserves a bit more discussion.
Every fan, everywhere, in all parts of the world, want to know what their team is doing to get better. Who doesn’t want to win? The offseason so far has seen more departures than additions. And the additions have left some people nervous as it includes just two international players (Remi Walter and Nicolas Isimat-Mirin) and a handful of Homegrowns and unproven players.
At several points throughout the interview Vermes was asked about what the team is doing to improve the squad. He made it pretty clear that as of right now, this is the team.
“Our primary transfer window to bring players into the team has been extended to June 1,” began Vermes. “Usually it ends in early May. So we’re not in a major rush to all of the sudden try to sign a player. I want to use some of the preseason to see who we are as a team and where we are. If we need to make some improvements, we’re in a position to do that based on what we see rather than trying to sign someone really quickly. The immigration aspect of getting players in from other countries is also difficult. We have to take that into consideration if we want to sign another player, but we’re going to take our time with that.”
There also won’t be anyone on trial with SKC during preseason like there has been in years past. “We’ll have a pool of players who are with us, and if we send somebody out [of Arizona camp], we more than likely won’t be adding somebody back,” said Vermes. He did make a caveat that if they were short on goalkeepers they might need to bring someone in, but they currently have four signed, so that seems unlikely barring a rash of injuries or COVID infections.
That would also seem to rule out adding a U-22 Initiative player (or Young DP as PV referred to it). But that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking. “We’ve been looking for the last couple of years,” said Vermes. “Because this initiative has been around it just hasn’t been improved or implemented yet, as it is now. It’s something we’ve been looking at in certain areas of the field. But I would say right now, we are still in the process of looking and making sure we find the right deal.”
He went on to say, “as best we can, we’ve got to be closer to being right than wrong.” With unlimited acquisition costs available for these U-22/Young Designated Player spots, Sporting, and all the other teams in MLS, really want to get them right. They could lead to huge, windfall sales, or they could be complete busts. The risk versus rewards is through the roof.
At this point, it seems Sporting fans will have to wait a little longer to see if and when another acquisition is made. The summer transfer market could be loaded with teams still recovering from the financial hurt of a year or more of not having fans (or having very few fans) in stadiums. There will likely be some very good deals to be had and teams in a financial position like most MLS clubs, with billionaire owners, can take advantage of that opening.
That will require Vermes to integrate players mid-year, something he’s been somewhat reluctant to do in the past. Most summer signings made a bigger impact the following season, than in the season they were signed (with a few notable exceptions). But some of the best teams in MLS make huge deals in the summer and it thrusts them to success that same season. Here is to hoping Sporting can pull that off this year, and many years in the future.