Veteran defender Graham Zusi re-signs with Sporting KC for 2022 season

Graham Zusi, Rich Balchan
Posted at 10:58 AM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 11:58:45-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Graham Zusi will return for a 14th season with Sporting Kansas City after the club announced that the veteran defender has signed a one-year contract for the 2022 season.

Zusi, a seven-time MLS all-star, has spent his entire career with Sporting KC since joining the club as the No. 23 overall pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft from the University of Maryland.

After starting his career in the midfield before transitioning to outside back in recent years, Zusi — a 35-year-old native of Orlando, Florida — has been a vital piece for SKC in its 2013 MLS Cup championship and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles in 2012, 2015 and 2017.

He is already the longest-tenured player with one club in MLS history and has helped Sporting KC reach the playoffs in 10 of the last 11 seasons.

Zusi has served as Sporting KC's starting right back since 2017.

The club also announced Thursday that Roger Espinoza would return for the 2022 season.

Zusi is SKC’s all-time lead with 373 appearances across all competitions, including 320 MLS regular-season matches and 20 in the MLS playoffs.

He ranks second in club history with 87 assists, 29,980 minutes played and 327 starts.

Zusi, who ranks 10th in SKC history with 33 career goals, was an MLS Best XI selection in 2012 and 2013 and was chosen as the 2011 MLS Breakout Player of the Year.

He made 55 appearances with the U.S. Men’s National Team from 2012-17, racking up five goals and seven assists.

Zusi played in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and two CONCACAF Gold Cups, helping the U.S. win the continental title in 2017.

He’s been an active participant in Sporting KC’s efforts with The Victory Project, which helps pediatric patients and their families, and is a volunteer at Children's Mercy Hospital.

Sporting KC will begin preseason training Monday in Arizona. The regular season begins Feb. 27 at the Atlanta United FC.