KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes will reach a historic milestone in Friday's home opener against Orlando City at Children's Mercy Park.
The longest-tenured head coach in MLS history, in his 13th season, will be on the pitch in his 600th MLS match as a player or a head coach (including playoffs). Only one other, Jason Kreis, has achieved a similar feat.
Vermes is eager to play in front of more fans as CMP opens with 40% capacity this season.
"I always say it's a reciprocating relationship," he said. "You play really hard, and the fans respect that, they applaud that right, if even if you lose, I mean if you gave everything you had on the field and the fans are enjoyed, and so I think that was lost last year for not just our team but for all the games. The fans make the game."
Vermes, as manager, also oversees the club's developmental programs and academy.
There are currently `12 players on the SKC roster with a homegrown designation, which Vermes said speaks to the depth at the team's disposal.
"Player development is really driven by the player, not by a parent or a coach. And so they've put a lot into this and they're starting to contribute and it's, it's great to see that the vision that we had, that this was eventually going to be the lifeblood of our club moving forward, that we're starting to see some of the fruits of that labor. The big next step is, is that when the players actually really make it right. I mean, they're in there, they're contributing but I'm talking about really being there on a regular basis," he said.
Kickoff at Children's Mercy Park is set for 6:30 p.m. as Sporting looks to start the season with two wins after last week's comeback victory against the New York Red Bulls.