Sporting KC II taps Benny Feilhaber as new head coach

Benny feilhaber mugshot.jpg
Benny Feilhaber, DaMarcus  Beasley
Benny Feilhaber, Fatai Alashe
Posted at 12:11 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 13:36:02-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Benny Feilhaber, who played six seasons with Sporting Kansas City, has been chosen as head coach for the club’s reserve franchise, Sporting KC II.

The club announced Wednesday that Feilhaber, who made 44 appearances with the U.S. Men’s National Team and played professionally for 15 seasons, would replace Paula Nagamura, who left Sporting KC II in November and was subsequently named the Houston Dynamo’s head coach.

Feilhaber, who played in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and helped the U.S. win the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup with a game-winning goal against Mexico in the final, joined Sporting KC’s technical staff as director of technical operations last January and began serving as head coach of the Sporting KC Academy U-17 team in August.

Benny Feilhaber, DaMarcus  Beasley
USA's Benny Feilhaber, right, celebrates with DaMarcus Beasley after scoring the winning goal against Mexico during the second half of the Gold Cup soccer final Sunday, June 24, 2007, in Chicago. USA won 2-1.

Since Sporting KC II debuted in 2016, there have been 13 players who have made the jump from the team to the SKC senior roster, including 2021 MLS MVP finalist Daniel Salloi.

Feilhaber, who helped SKC capture the 2013 MLS Cup and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles in 2015 and 2017, is intimately familiar with Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes’ style and system.

After starting his career with stints in Germany, England and Denmark, Feilhaber moved to MLS with the New England Revolution from 2011-12, but he enjoyed his greatest professional success under Vermes’ tutelage with SKC from 2013-17, scoring 29 goals with 43 assists in 150 appearances.

Feilhaber played for Los Angeles FC in 2018 and started 2019 with the Colorado Rapids before returning to Sporting KC in midseason 2019. He added two goals and an assist in 17 appearances during his second stint with the club.

Benny Feilhaber, Fatai Alashe
In this Oct. 16, 2015, file photo, Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber (10) takes a shot on goal past San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Fatai Alashe (27) during the first half of an MLS soccer match in San Jose, Calif. Midfielder Benny Feilhaber retired from soccer on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, after a career that included playing for the United States at the 2010 World Cup and nine years in Major League Soccer.

After retiring from MLS in March 2020, Feilhaber joined his alma mater UCLA as an assistant coach for the 2020 season before reuniting with Vermes in Kansas City, where he totaled 35 goals and 58 assists in 198 appearances across all competitions.

Feilhaber ranks ninth in goals and third in assists in SKC history and is one of four players with at least 30 goals and 50 assists — a group that includes Graham Zusi, Preki and Chris Klein.

Sporting KC II is moving from the USL Championship, the second tier of domestic soccer, to the newly created MLS Next Pro, a third-tier league.

Benny Feilhaber, who played six seasons with Sporting Kansas City, has been chosen as head coach for the club’s reserve franchise, Sporting KC II, the senior club announced Wednesday.