Best KC Athlete

Dan Moreno

1. Jimmy Nielsen, Sporting Kansas City

The “White Puma” will always be remembered as an icon, legend and hero to Sporting Kansas City and its fans.

The charismatic Danish goalkeeper played for Head Coach Peter Vermes from 2010-2013. The 36-year-old retired at the close of last season after the team won the MLS Cup Championship. Nielsen served as Sporting Kansas City’s captain.

Last season, Nielsen played 34 regular season games and five playoff games, playing a total of 3,570 minutes, recording a 0.88 goals allowed average and notching 75 saves

Since his arrival in Kansas City , Nielsen was a fan favorite because of his passion and talent as a goalkeeper.

In 2013 he wrote and published his autobiography titled “Welcome to the Blue Heaven.”

After announcing his retirement, Nielsen was named head coach for Oklahoma Energy F.C.

2. Matt Besler, Sporting Kansas City

Kansas City native Matt Besler not only helped Sporting Kansas City win the MLS Cup Championship and a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League playoffs, but also was an important addition to the U.S. National Team, which qualified for the FIFA 2014 World Cup to be played this summer in Brazil.

Besler was voted Sporting Kansas City’s Defensive Player of the Year and appeared in 23 regular season matches and five playoff games, anchoring a defense that earned 13 shutouts.

3. Graham Zusi, Sporting Kansas City

Graham Zusi had an unforgettable 2013 helping Sporting Kansas City earn the MLS Cup Championship. He was a leader in the U.S. National team that qualified to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Zusi scored three goals with the U.S. National Team, two against Panama and one against Jamaica.
Zusi was named to the 2013 All-Star Game as well as the Sporting KC Team MVP and Offensive Player of the Year.
He played 32 games throughout the MLS season scoring six goals and recording 10 assists.