Monday, November 28, 2016

Sporting to Have Major Club Announcement Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning, Sporting KC will be making a major club announcement at their downtown offices. Included at the announcement will be the club's coach and technical director, Peter Vermes, club president Jake Reid, and Mike Illig, representing the Sporting Club ownership group. Since it was announced around 3:30 this afternoon, plenty of speculation has taken place about what the announcement is going to be, is it a new player signing, is it a contract extension for Vermes, is Vermes leaving, is there a change in ownership coming? There are plenty of guesses being made about what the announcement is going to be about.

Here's my take on a few of the potential ideas.

Peter Vermes Contract Extension

If there was betting line for what the announcement was going to be tomorrow, this would be the odds on favorite and is my guess for the announcement tomorrow. Vermes last signed a contract extension over the summer in 2013 that extended his stay with Kansas City through the end of the 2017 season. With this coming season being the last in that contract and rumors of US Soccer interest, LA Galaxy interest, and foreign interest, both club and national team, locking Vermes up long term is certainly something that would have to be on at the top of the KC priority list. Vermes has virtually every single coaching record in KC's history and with the departure of Bruce Arena from the LA Galaxy, Vermes is now the longest tenured manager in MLS.

Vermes is Leaving Kansas City

This one isn't completely far-fetched, because of the reasons I listed in the last section, Vermes' profile as a coach continues to rise, he was named as one of the primary candidates to replace Jurgen Klinsmann as national team boss, is about to be out of contract, and has reportedly had interest abroad. Where this idea falls apart though is the timing of the announcement. If Vermes was leaving Kansas City for another position, standard practice is to let the other team that the manager is going to be the one that makes the announcement first, then the team the coach is leaving releases a statement, they don't generally have a press conference with the coach announcing his departure.

Player Signing/Departure

The first problem with this idea is the fact that the release called it a "major club announcement," if this was going to be a player signing or departure, the team would have announced it as a "major player announcement" or something similar. If it was a signing, you would expect the player to also be available at least for a brief statement with the club, but the announcement makes no mention of a player (not that it would give away the player's name, but would say that the player would be available for comment). If it was a departure, like with a coach departure, Sporting would probably wait until the club the player was going to to announce the move before making the announcement themselves.

Front Office Shake Up

Ever since OnGoal LLC bought the Kansas City Wizards, Sporting Club CEO, Robb Heineman has been the public face of the ownership group when it comes to dealing with the media and at announcements. So with tomorrow's announcement including Mike Illig, son of Cliff Illig, as the representative of Sporting Club, it certainly raised some eyebrows among fans. There have been rumblings about Heineman's role with the club lately and the fact that he's not part of this announcement will certainly do nothing to quell those rumors, but any sort of announcement like that doesn't make a ton of sense tomorrow. That sort of announcement isn't something that you feel would need to involve Vermes being at the press conference, and especially not something that the club would make Vermes available for interviews about after the meeting.

There are other ideas that have been thrown out on Twitter tonight, things like buying FC Kansas City or expanding Children's Mercy Park, but those and others are reaching much more than even some of the above ideas. As I said near the beginning, the odds on favorite for tomorrow's announcement would be a contract extension for Vermes that will keep him in KC long term, or at least raise the release clause that US Soccer or any club team would have to pay the club if they really wanted him.

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