Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By TATE STEINLAGE
It was going to be difficult to replace one of the top outside backs in Major League Soccer, so Sporting Kansas City went ahead and locked down defender Chance Myers before launching its 2014 campaign.
Myers has officially come to terms with the club for a new contract, and joined the team Thursday morning in Tucson, Ariz., for preseason training. According to the 26-year-old right back, the deal was inked Wednesday night for what sources have told SBI is for three years.
“Re-signing Chance was an important goal of ours in the offseason,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to him entering training camp and another season with our team because he’s been one of the core members of this group. We hope to continue the consistency that we’ve had over that time.”
After a short night’s rest, Myers had an early flight to Arizona to join the club, which is preparing for a preseason game on Saturday against the Portland Timbers.
The deal comes after weeks of talks between Myers and the club, along with “nibbles” of interest from overseas teams. However, despite the peaking interest abroad and even stateside, Myers said he didn’t entertain the thought of not returning to the place he’s called home for the last six years.
“No, not really,” Myers said about having any doubts on not returning. “I always wanted to be here [Kansas City].
“I was down at camp and the line of communication was a little tough being in a foreign country. I just wanted to wait back and just be able to focus on camp with the national team for a little while, and then come back here and really iron out all the details.”
The former No. 1 overall pick of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft spent the last three weeks with the USMNT in its January camp, which included a 12-day dry run in Brazil to prepare for this summer’s World Cup.
“It was a great experience. It was cool being introduced to the national team, getting to meet a lot of the guys that are core members of that team, so it was cool to see the system and meet certain staff and see what they like to implement on a daily basis. I had a great experience. I learned a lot; it was tough, it was challenging. I really accepted the challenge everyday and had a good time.”
Myers was released from the camp Saturday, but said he was encouraged by what head coach Jurgen Klinsmann had to say about his first experience with the squad.
“[Klinsmann is a] very optimistic and very positive coach. He told me basically everything that he enjoyed throughout the last three weeks and what he saw in my game and maybe what I need to work on. Not so much that, but what he enjoyed watching, in terms of my progression over the last three weeks and what he saw I progressed at.”
Myers’ return to Sporting KC locks in the MLS Cup-winning back line that featured Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, and Seth Sinovic last season. The four have produced an MLS-best 29-7-8 record over the last three years when starting together.
As a team, Sporting KC returns 25 players from last year’s championship season, which includes 96.8 percent of minutes recorded by field players in all 2013 competitions.
“It’s a very important aspect to our team and the way we play,” Vermes said about returning the back four. “Again, that consistency in the back line is extremely important for him signing, and now making sure we have all four guys back there is very important to us moving forward.”
Sporting KC returns to preseason action Saturday against the Portland Timbers at 7 p.m. CDT. The match will be live streamed on mlssoccer.com.