Kansas City Wizards President Robb Heineman announced Tuesday that Peter Vermes will become the team’s full-time Manager. Vermes assumed the role of Interim Head Coach August 4 and guided the Wizards over the final 12 games of the Major League Soccer season. Vermes became the Wizards Technical Director on November 15, 2006 and will maintain that role while assuming Head Coaching duties.

“Over the past three years as the Wizards Technical Director, Peter has demonstrated strong work ethic, leadership and creative management of our team roster,” Heineman said. “As the club’s new Manager, we believe Peter has the technical and tactical qualities, attention to detail, and determination necessary to bring championship soccer back to Kansas City.”

Vermes was a founding member of Major League Soccer and a standout on the United States National Team. After retiring in 2002, Vermes became the Technical Director of Blue Valley Soccer Club before serving as a coach of the United States Under-20 Men’s National Team in 2006. Vermes retired from MLS after playing in 184 games League games (183 starts), amassing 16,384 minutes, 11 goals and 17 assists for the then New York/New Jersey MetroStars, Colorado Rapids and Kansas City Wizards over seven seasons. He scored two goals and recorded three assists in 2000, helping lead the Wizards to their first MLS Cup championship. Vermes has been a finalist for the National Soccer Hall of Fame in each of the last two rounds of voting, finishing in the top 10 both years. The National Soccer Hall of Fame announced Monday that he is again among the top 24 retired players eligible for voting.

“I have a strong understanding of where we are currently and where we need to go, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to lead the team on the field next season,” Vermes said. “There will be a certain mindset and spirit in the locker room moving forward, and I am excited for what lies ahead. We will add different players to the equation and continue to develop from within our current roster, but we will all be eagerly anticipating pre-season, which is less than three months away.”

Vermes first joined the Wizards on February 3, 2000 via trade from the Colorado Rapids and enjoyed his greatest team and personal success in MLS. He anchored a defense that allowed just 29 goals in 32 regular season games, posting a Major League Soccer record 17 shutouts, including eight straight at home. The team amassed an amazing streak of 681 straight minutes. Vermes played every minute in 2000 and helped Kansas City capture the Supporters Shield for best record in the regular season and the MLS Cup crown. He was named BIC 2000 Defender of the Year, to the MLS Best XI team and was a member of the MLS All-Star squad that season. He played for the Wizards for two more years before retiring after the 2002 campaign.

Vermes played in 67 games for the United States National Team, scoring 11 goals and registering three assists. In 1998, he was named the Chevrolet U.S. Male Soccer Athlete of the Year. His leadership and mentality then helped lead a young squad to an improbable qualification in the 1990 World Cup in Italy, the first trip for the United States in 40 years. Vermes also played for the United States at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea, where he was named U.S. Olympic Player of the Year for the Summer Games. Vermes later became the first American ever to play in Hungary’s (Raba Eto) and Holland’s (F.C. Volendam) First Division. He also played for Figueras of the Spanish Second Division. In addition to English, Vermes speaks Spanish and Hungarian.

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