Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes had a long, successful playing career in Hungary, Holland and Major League Soccer, as well as the US national team, long before he ever entertained the idea of becoming a coach or technical director.
The rest of his coaching staff — Kerry Zavagnin, Zoran Savic and John Pascarella — also all had professional playing careers that set them up for life as a coach once their time as a player came to a close. Sometime between 1996 and 2000, when most of those guys would have been at or near a high point of their playing careers, the Sporting KC coaching staff would have made for a soild spine of an MLS team.
The four never got to lace up their boots together as professionals, but come this Saturday afternoon, Vermes and his staff will take the field together to play part of the first half in a charity soccer game to benefit the victims of the devastating tornadoes that struck Moore, Okla., on May 20. Sporting KC supporters group, the KC Cauldron, will play the remainder of the game against the organizers and hosts of the event.
The opportunity to take the field, coaches and supporters together, came along thanks to the KC Bravehearts, an amateur soccer soccer team in Kansas City that states their goal is "to make an impact on the pitch and comunity" on their Twitter page.
If you are someone who has viewed a Sporting training session in the last four years since Vermes and Co. took over the team, you won't be surprised to see that Vermes and Zavagnin in particular haven't lost an ounce of the competitive edge or technical ability that made them successful during their playing days. A smooth touch never goes away.