Past success, postseason frustration, family stability: Benny Feilhaber took a lot of things into account before signing a two-year extension with Sporting Kansas City.
“In terms of soccer, I've always wanted to stay here,” the veteran playmaker told reporters during a conference call following Wednesday's announcement. “It's where I've been successful the last four seasons, more so than any place in my career.
“But just as important is the family aspect. I'm a married person with two kids. It's not like I'm single and only thinking about myself at this time.”
Feilhaber won his only club trophies with Sporting – the 2013 MLS Cup and 2015 U.S. Open Cup – and both of his daughters were born in Kansas City as well.
But after that 2013 triumph, Sporting's last three trips to the playoffs have ended in away losses in the Knockout Round.
“I can probably pick out moments in each of the last three seasons where we've been playing really, really well and potentially good enough to make an MLS Cup run and win it,” he said. “Having said that, we've come up short by just a little bit in each of the games that we've lost in the playoffs.
“So I think it's an important thing to look forward to – not only being able to manage those games to come out on top, but at the same time, we want to be more consistent throughout the regular season to hopefully avoid playing in those play-in games, especially on the road.”
Sporting's high-pressing 4-3-3 suits his strengths as well, Feilhaber said.
“That type of energy, and the transition that we play with, is something that I this has helped me become a better player,” he said. “Then what we do on the ball is something that is an advantage for me, in the way that I play, in that I can exploit other teams' defenses.
“There's more factors, obviously. The players that I've had around me have helped me become a better player, more productive. There's definitely more than one factor, but I think it goes both with the type of player that I've become and the type of setting that I've been in.”
Feilhaber's four years in Kansas City are his longest anywhere in his pro career, and he's put down some roots in the city – even if he plans to move on after his playing days are over.
“I don't think anything's ever going to beat California for me, in terms of where I'd love to live after I'm done with soccer,” he said. “It's where my friends are. It's where my wife's friends are, where both our families live. So that would be tough to beat.
“But, having said that, we have a house here. Both our daughters were born here. We've lived here for four years. We have friends here. So there's no doubt about it that this is our second home. We've grown very used to the lifestyle here and we really love it. It's definitely something special for us to stay here another two years.”