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100 days of Kansas City-area Olympians: Matt McKeon, soccer

Matt McKeon.jpg
Posted at 8:00 AM, Jun 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-03 09:00:41-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Matt McKeon appeared in 163 games, including the playoffs, during two three-year stints with the former Kansas City Wizards.

But early in his MLS career, McKeon, a St. Louis native and the No. 1 pick in the 1996 MLS College Draft, also was an Olympian.

McKeon — a former two-time, first-team All-American midfielder at St. Louis University — entered as a second-half sub against Argentina and Portugal during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

The U.S. squad finished third in Group A with a 1-1-1 record, failing to qualify for the quarterfinals.

Argentina went on to claim the silver medal with Portugal finishing fourth after losing to Brazil in the bronze-medal match.

The then-Kansas City Wiz, now known as Sporting Kansas City, drafted McKeon first overall in the inaugural MLS Draft. He was the reigning Missouri Athletic Club Player of the Year Award winner as college soccer’s top player.

McKeon, who scored 47 goals with 46 assists during his Billikens career, is one of 24 NCAA Division I men’s college soccer players with at least 40 career goals and assists — a list that also includes Bruce Murray and Brian McBride.

McKeon played with the then-Wizards from 1996-98, leading MLS in fouls committed in 1997, before being traded to the Colorado Rapids for Chris Henderson after the 1998 season.

He was traded back to Kansas City one year later along with Peter Vermes.

McKeon finished his Sporting KC career with 16 goals and 18 assists, including the playoffs. That includes a career-high 11 assists during the club’s 2000 MLS championship season.

SKC also won the Supporters’ Shield for the best regular-season record for the only time in club history that season.

MCKEON PRAMPIN
Kansas City Wizards defender Matt McKeon, left, and Tampa Bay Mutiny forward Alan Prampin go to the air as they battle for the ball during the first half Wednesday, June 25, 1997, in Kansas City, Mo.

During his high school career, McKeon was chosen as the 1992 Gatorade Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

He also played for the U.S. men’s national U17, U20 and U23 teams before being part of the Olympic roster.

McKeon made two appearances for the full U.S. men’s national team during the 1999 Confederations Cup.

He was inducted into the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame in 2019 and currently serves as the director of coaching for the girls’ team with the JB Marine Soccer Club in St. Louis.

The Kansas City region has a deep, rich history with respect to the Olympic Games. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games approach with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 23, we will profile an athlete with ties to Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas each day.

41 Action News and KSHB.com is your home of the Tokyo Olympics. Follow our coverage at kshb.com/sports/olympics and check out our complete list of 100 Kansas City-area Olympians as it is revealed.

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