"Late-bloomer" Myers finally contributing for Sporting KC
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chance Myers is no stranger to injury as his professional career has been defined in large part by his body failing to keep up with his potential.
So when Myers picked up a groin injury earlier this season, it was hard not to connect the dots and make assumptions about where his latest setback would take him.
After all, Myers' seemingly random assortment of injuries throughout his short career — mono, a deviated septum, a broken toe and multiple muscle strains — have effectively disrupted any momentum the 23-year-old managed to put together during three seasons in Kansas City.
“He got into this rhythm of getting injured, trying to getting back, surviving and then doing it all over,” manager Peter Vermes said. “It was just a bad rhythm.”
Fortunately for Sporting KC, it’s a rhythm Myers appears to have finally broken. Unlike in prior seasons, he shrugged off the groin strain quickly and let his ensuing performances do the talking.
In doing so, Myers has begun to capitalize on the potential that prompted Vermes to take the UCLA product first overall in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. He’s already scored three goals in the Reserve League and dropped a brace on New England in the US Open Cup last week, earning himself a start against Colorado and almost certainly another appearance in Vermes’ starting 11 this weekend in Toronto.
All thanks to a little more dedication to taking care of the body that betrayed him over and over again while he attempted to find his place in Kansas City.
“I just got my body ready for the grind,” Myers said. “Obviously, I had some injuries the first couple years. Maybe I wasn’t ready for the 30-game stretch and nine-month season. I just did a lot of offseason work getting my body stronger, my core, eating habits, my diet. It’s working.”
And the timing couldn’t be any better for Myers — or Kansas City.
After three years as a member of the Generation adidas program, Myers graduated this offseason, leaving his contract subject to salary cap restrictions and his place on the team slightly less stable than it had been in years past.
But that change seems to have only strengthened his resolve. Vermes said Myers has made forward progress from Day 1 this season, not simply because he is scoring goals but because his approach to the game has improved. It doesn’t hurt that his versatility gives Vermes plenty of chances to put him on the field.
Myers spent the majority of his first three seasons at right back, but he has been mainly deployed at right forward this season, the source of his five goals. Still, Vermes has also pushed him into the back line when needed, resulting in a start against Chicago in defense earlier this season and a move back from forward against Colorado after injuries forced Sporting to juggle their lineup. It is also the position he will likely man against TFC on Saturday (7 pm ET; TSN in Canada/watch LIVE online in US).
And although he readily admits he enjoys putting the ball in the back of the net, Myers is adamant that he just wants to play and, more importantly, contribute to a winning side.
“I’m just here to do my job,” Myers said. "Anything they ask of me, I am going to try my best to do what I have to do.”
And so far, his best has made the injury parade he endured in the past look like just that — the past.
Instantly recognizable by his shaggy blonde hair and a personality that reveals his California roots, Myers is starting to mature into the professional Vermes envisioned when he took a chance on him in 2008.
“He’s a late-bloomer,” Vermes said. “I don’t write him off. He keeps trying and pushing. He’s going to be a good player in this league.”