KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jacob Peterson is only 25, and the forward is already on his fourth MLS team.
That might be a red flag for some, but Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes doesn’t have a problem with Peterson’s well-traveled past. After all, Vermes himself made a couple stops before landing in Kansas City and helping the then-Wizards to a MLS Cup championship in 2000.
“I played for three teams in this league,” he said. “I found success in different places when I played in those places, but my final team was here and we won the championship.”
Peterson may not have Vermes’ pedigree, but Kansas City hopes the former Colorado, Toronto and San Jose attacker can play a role in bringing the club its first title since the turn of the century.
Sporting announced they had signed the former US youth international on Thursday. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
He is expected to provide forward depth in Kansas City’s 4-3-3 formation, specifically on the flanks, for a squad that is already loaded up front, even considering Omar Bravo’s return to Mexico and Jéferson’s short-lived DP stint.
Sporting could see their attacking depth tested during 2012 with the London Olympics and other international responsibilities expected to stretch Vermes’ roster.
“I’m excited to be here,” Peterson said at a news conference on Thursday. “Everything is in place here, and they have the structure to succeed. They’ve got a good core here. I just want to add to that group and hopefully push for a championship.”
Peterson spent the second half of last season at San Jose after being traded from Toronto FC. The former Indiana University star entered the league with Colorado in 2006 and spent four seasons with the Rapids before being traded to Toronto in 2010. He has nine goals and 10 assists in 138 regular-season appearances (82 starts).
The versatile striker first caught Vermes’ eye, though, when the Sporting KC manager was an assistant coach under Sigi Schmid with the US Under-20s and Peterson was a member of the 2005 U-20 World Cup side.
And although familiarity certainly played a role in Peterson’s signing, Vermes believes, first and foremost that he can bring the best out of the forward in Sporting’s system.
“It’s always helpful when you have prior experience with a player, what they have,” Vermes said. “I’m a big believer that what you initially see in people is what they are, and my job as the manager of this team is to get the best out of everyone.”