Sporting KC hires Wilkinson, ex-Portland boss named in misconduct investigation
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Sporting Kansas City hired Gavin Wilkinson for its front office on Thursday, giving the former Portland Thorns president another opportunity following his 2022 firing after separate investigations into the club's handling of player and coach misconduct.
Longtime Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes will add the title of chief soccer officer and oversee Wilkinson, who will take on the title of sporting director and be responsible for player recruitment, roster building, budgeting and technical staff management.
Wilkinson's name surfaced in an independent investigation led by former Attorney General Sally Yates into misconduct and the cover-up of abuse while he was the Thorns' general manager. He was responsible for the hiring of Paul Riley, who was among five NWSL coaches who were dismissed or resigned amid claims of misconduct in 2021.
The Thorns also were fined $1 million as part of the fallout from the investigation.
Wilkinson has 12 years of executive leadership experience in Major League Soccer, including his time as the general manager and president of the Portland Timbers. He also was the coach of the club when it was part of the United Soccer League.
Sporting KC had been looking to add to its front office to ease the burden on Vermes, who has served as the club's manager since 2009 and its sporting director the past four years. Vermes, the longest-tenured coach in MLS history, has led the club to the 2013 MLS Cup along with three U.S. Open Cups and 11 playoff appearances since the 2011 season.
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