Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sporting KC acquires midfielder Benny Feilhaber


Sporting Kansas City acquired midfielder Benny Feilhaber from the New England Revolution on Tuesday in exchange for allocation money, Sporting KC's natural first round pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and natural second round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.

The 27-year old playmaker has been added to Sporting Kansas City's roster and will occupy a senior roster spot.

"Benny is an excellent two-way, box-to-box midfielder who has tremendous ability, especially with the final pass," Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. "His experience with the US National Team programs and playing overseas will serve him well in our system."

"I am really excited to come to Sporting Kansas City," Feilhaber said. "It is a top-class organization and team in Major League Soccer. My goal is to help the team however I can. I cannot wait to play in the best stadium in the League and in front of a great fan base. I am already hyped for the first home game."

Feilhaber has made 39 appearances for the United States Men's National Team, debuting in 2007 and recording an assist and game-winning goal in his third cap at the international level.

He went on to start four of his five appearances at the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, including the championship match against Mexico. He scored the game-winning goal on a volley from 22 yards out which was later voted U.S. Soccer's Best Goal of the year.

His breakout year continued with two starts at the 2007 CONMEBOL Copa America against Argentina and Paraguay.

In 2008, Feilhaber represented the United States at the Summer Olympics in China and appeared in all three games for the U.S. under-23 squad. The tournament marked his second major international tournament at the youth level, following his strong showing at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship with the United States under-20 team in Holland.

He started all four games and was named one of the tournament's most impressive group stage performers as he helped the U.S. finish atop world powers Argentina, Germany and Egypt. He played 16 games for the United States Under-20 National Team in 2005 and was named US Soccer's Young Male Athlete of the Year.

He continued to be a key contributor for the United States on the national team's biggest stages and was the only player to appear in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup.

He appeared in all five of the United States matches at the 2009 Confederations Cup, helping set up Clint Dempsey's goal in the team's historic 2-0 win over No. 1 Spain in the semifinals and starting against Brazil in the United States first ever final in a major FIFA tournament.

Having played a pivotal part with six appearances in the United States final round of qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Feilhaber returned to South Africa as part of the United States World Cup squad.

He made three appearances at the 2010 FIFA World Cup to help the United States win their group over favorites England and advance to the Round of 16.

Most recently, Feilhaber took the field for the United States National Team alongside current Sporting Kansas City teammates Teal Bunbury, C.J. Sapong and Graham Zusi in a 1-0 victory over Venezuela in January.

He also played previously with Jacob Peterson and Bobby Convey for the United States at the international level.

At the club level, Feilhaber made 52 appearances for the Revolution over the last two seasons with five goals and nine assists.

Prior to signing with MLS in April 2011, Feilhaber played professionally in the Danish SuperLiga, Germany's Bundesliga and the English Premier League.

His career started in Germany with Hamburger SV, where he debuted in 2006 and went on to make nine appearances.  He then signed for the English Premier League's Derby County FC in August 2007 and saw action in 10 games.

Feilhaber's final stint abroad came from 2008-2011 in Denmark with AGF Aarhus, where he scored five goals in 54 appearances.

Feilhaber was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and moved to the United States at age six. He walked on at UCLA and recorded seven goals and four assists in 36 games over two seasons for the Bruins.

On Saturday, Feilhaber will marry his fiancée Michele Allred in a ceremony in California.