One thing that I've felt has been missing from Sporting KC since the new stadium was built was some sort of hall of fame, or ring of honor, or something to honor those that had been a big part of this club in the past. Today, Sporting remedied that with the creation of the Sporting Legends initiative. The team also announced the first class. It will include arguably the greatest player to wear a KC uniform, Preki. He's the career leader in goals (71) and assists (98) in league play in his career. He's 4th all-time in terms of appearances with the club with 218 in league. He's also played the 5th most minutes in team history with 17,818 in league play. He also won two MVP awards in 1997 and 2003, still the only player to win two MVP awards in his MLS career.
The second inductee is still considered the greatest goalkeeper to play for the club, Tony Meola. Up until recently he was the team leader in wins in league play, having just been passed by Jimmy Nielsen. He's still appeared in the most league games among goalkeepers (125) and played the most minutes with 11,331 played in league play. He also won MLS MVP, MLS Goalkeeper of the year, MLS Best XI, and MLS Cup MVP all in the 2000 season helping to lead KC to MLS Cup.
The final inductee in the inaugural class is head coach, Bob Gansler. The team's longest serving head coach was here from 1999 through 2006 helping the team win all but one of their trophies in their history. Through his career, Gansler picked up 86 wins, obviously the most in KC, but also 7th all-time among head coaches.
Preki and Meola will both be recognized this weekend at half time of KC's game against the New York Red Bulls. Both were actually on the field delivering the trophy for the All Star Game this past Wednesday. Gansler will be recognized for his induction on October 11th, the date that the US team returns to KC to take on Jamaica.
Going forward, one Legend will be inducted each year. That will stretch out the process for a number of years. Players like Jimmy Conrad, Nick Garcia, Mo Johnston, Chris Klein, and Kerry Zavagnin all have to be on the short list for the next few years.
If there is one disappointment in this announcement, it's that Lamar Hunt is not in the original induction group. Without Hunt not only is there no Sporting KC Wiz(ards), there's also no MLS. I understand wanting to induct the people that they did in this class, but it is disappointing that Hunt was not included in the original class, like he probably deserves.