A Sporting KC legend retired today, Paulo Nagamura called it a career today, retiring at the age of 33 to take an assistant coaching position with the Swope Park Rangers. Whether he will eventually become a Sporting Legend at Children's Mercy Park is a discussion for another day, but he will certainly be remembered as a legend among fans of the club for his style of play, his passion, and the ice that ran through his veins when it came to penalty kick shootouts.
Sporting KC acquired Nagamura ahead of the 2012 MLS season from Chivas USA, where Nagamura had played just 11 games for the club in the 2011 season. Nagamura proceeded to then play 95 league games for KC over the next five years, scoring six goals and adding seven assists. He was a big part of all three trophies that Kansas City won during his time at the club, making his penalty kick in all three penalty kick shootouts where KC won their trophies.
He captained the club on a number of occasions in different competitions and was a leader on the field. Over his last two seasons though injuries started to really catch up with him, and it seemed that Peter Vermes would save Nagamura's legs early in the season to bring him on later in the season. In 2015 his returned provided a spark to the team evident in the team's come from behind win against the Vancouver Whitecaps where Nagamura scored twice late to give them a 4-3 win.
Then there are the PKs that I've previously mentioned, the man was ice cold in the pressure situation of a penalty shootout, scoring in all three finals. The pressure just didn't seem to faze him as he calmly placed each one into a corner or side netting. It's that clam demeanor in those situations along with his fire when he's on the field that will be hard for KC to replace, that combination of both that made him such a valuable member of the team.
His experience on the field will be great in his new role as an assistant coach for the Swope Park Rangers, it's a position that most fans were hoping for for him when he retired, and taking a position that kept him in Kansas City and allow him to work with future players.