Sporting Club announced today that they will be inducting three people as Sporting Legends this year. After a fan vote that included Kerry Zavagnin, Chris Klein, and Mo Johnston, two players were chosen, Peter Vermes and Jimmy Conrad. The team also announced that the team's original owner Lamar Hunt would be inducted as well.
The trio will be inducted on Friday during half time of Sporting KC's game against the Philadelphia Union.
Of the players available for selection, neither one was my choice selection this year, my vote went to Mo Johnston. For me I was only looking at Vermes' playing career with Kansas City. With him currently being the coach of the club I personally had seen his coaching history as something to not yet be considered in the discussion. I felt of the candidates available, on their playing alone, Vermes was the weakest candidate for inclusion as a Sporting Legend. Based on his time as coach I figured once he was done coaching he would then go in as a legend for both his play and his coaching. But in the release the team put out they are including his coaching accomplishments. I understand including it, cause they are great accomplishments, but to me it just doesn't sit right when he is still the team's coach.
As for Conrad, he is 100% deserving of going in as a Sporting Legend. For me though I felt that at this time, Johnston was the more deserving candidate. Honestly Conrad was probably second in my head behind Johnston.
Then there's Hunt, who is probably the most deserving candidate of anyone that has been elected as a Sporting Legend. That's one of my issues with the Sporting Legends system right now, the fact that Hunt was not the first person selected for the honor. When the team announced Preki, Tony Meola, and Bob Gansler as the first class, I'd hoped that Hunt would be the second class, inducted by himself, getting the attention and honor he deserved as the team's founder and for bringing not just the team to this city, but bringing MLS to this country, and helping to keep KC and the league alive through the lean years of the league. I know I've said some bad things about Hunt over the years, especially after he announced the team but he's done so much for the team, he could have sold it to Rochester, San Antonio, or somewhere else before OnGoal came in and purchased the team. He really, I think, he deserved to be in a class all on his own.
That leads to another thing with the Sporting Legends program right now. I understand that there is catching up to do with regards to inductees into the program, we've gone almost 20 years without one, so there is history in the team that needs to be recognized and celebrated. But in the first two years there have now been six selected.
In my mind there aren't that many more players I would consider "Legends" for the club at this point who are no longer playing. Really in my mind the only ones right now not in that should be, are the three who didn't get in this year (Johnston, Klein, and Zavagnin), along with Nick Garcia, Jimmy Nielsen, and Josh Wolff. And even all of that may be pushing it, look at the likes of DC United, who only have 10 players in their Hall of Tradition, only twice have they inducted more than one per year, and they started in 2003. Or the Chicago Fire who have seven in their Ring of Honor who have never inducted more than one a year. As I said earlier, I understand that there's a need to catch up, but I'm not sure there a reason to basically induct as many in two years as the Five have since 2003. I would hope the inductions slow down to just one a year, if that, at this point. I don't want to get to the point where a player is being elected just to elect someone.