Sporting Kansas City announced today that longtime midfielder and MLS Cup champion Benny Feilhaber has been appointed as Sporting KC Academy U-17 head coach.
Feilhaber, who joined Sporting’s technical staff in January after concluding his 15-year playing career in early 2020, will work in tandem with Sporting KC Academy Director Jon Parry and fellow head coaches Rumba Munthali (U-19), Chris O’Neal (U-15), Declan Jogi (U-14), Luis Pacheco (U-13) and Colby Childress (U-12) as well as Academy goalkeeper coach Paulo Pita.
Additionally, Sporting Kansas City midfielders Roger Espinoza and Ilie Sanchez have taken assistant coaching roles with the Sporting KC Academy as part of their B License courses in the U.S. Soccer Coaching Education program. Espinoza will serve as a U-13 assistant to Pacheco, while Ilie will serve as a U-14 assistant to Jogi. Both players will fulfill their duties during training sessions at Swope Soccer Village and at competitive matches throughout the Kansas City area.
In August 2020, Feilhaber took the first step of his post-playing career by joining UCLA, his college alma mater, as an assistant coach for the men’s soccer team. He returned to Kansas City last winter, becoming the Director of Technical Operations on the Sporting KC technical staff. In his transition to U-17 head coach, Feilhaber will focus on the development of youth players within Sporting’s professional player pathway. Feilhaber holds a U.S. Soccer B License and will apply for an A-Senior License in 2022.
Feilhaber ended his professional playing career in March 2020, retiring after 15 seasons across Major League Soccer, the German Bundesliga, English Premier League and Danish Superliga. He won the 2013 MLS Cup and the 2015 and 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups with Sporting—notably landing an MLS MVP nomination in 2015—and represented the United States internationally, lifting the 2007 Concacaf Gold Cup and competing at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Feilhaber and the Sporting KC U-17s will kick off the 2021-22 MLS NEXT regular season on Sept. 11, hosting the Chicago Fire Academy at Swope Soccer Village. To view the Sporting KC Academy’s entire MLS NEXT schedule for the 2021-22 campaign, click here.