Benny Feilhaber

Benny Feilhaber (/ˈflhɑːbər/; born January 19, 1985) is an American soccer coach and former professional player who is currently head coach of MLS Next Pro side Sporting Kansas City II, an affiliate of Sporting Kansas City. A midfielder, Feilhaber played for clubs in Germany, Denmark, England, and the United States. Born in Brazil but raised in the United States, he represented the United States internationally, including at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Benny Feilhaber
Benny Feilhaber 2017 (cropped).jpg
Feilhaber playing with Sporting Kansas City in 2017
Personal information
Full name Benny Feilhaber[1]
Date of birth (1985-01-19) January 19, 1985 (age 37)[1]
Place of birth Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Position(s) Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Sporting Kansas City II (head coach)
Youth career
2000–2003 Irvine Strikers
College career
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2004 UCLA Bruins 36 (7)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2007 Hamburger SV II 49 (3)
2006–2007 Hamburger SV 9 (0)
2007–2008 Derby County 10 (0)
2008–2011 AGF Aarhus 54 (5)
2011–2012 New England Revolution 52 (5)
2013–2017 Sporting Kansas City 150 (29)
2018 Los Angeles FC 34 (3)
2019 Colorado Rapids 9 (2)
2019–2020 Sporting Kansas City 17 (2)
Total 384 (49)
National team
2005 United States U20 11 (0)
2007–2008 United States U23 6 (0)
2007–2017 United States 44 (2)
Teams managed
2020–2021 UCLA Bruins (assistant)
2021 Sporting Kansas City (technical staff)
2021 Sporting Kansas City (academy)
2022– Sporting Kansas City II
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of February 17, 2020
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of October 10, 2017

Early lifeEdit

Feilhaber was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[2][3] He is Jewish,[4] and was raised in his father's Jewish religion.[5] His paternal grandfather emigrated from the Austrian capital city of Vienna to Brazil in 1938 to escape the Nazi regime.[3]

Feilhaber was six years old when his family moved from Brazil to settle in the United States and attended Nottingham Country Elementary in Katy, Texas. He spent approximately eight years in the New York City suburb of Scarsdale where he played for the local soccer team, the Scarsdale Lightning. In 1996, he led the team and won the New York State Cup for the U-12 division.[6] He attended Northwood High School in Irvine, California where he was a standout midfielder on the school's soccer team. He also played club soccer for the Irvine Strikers, winning various youth national titles. He was coached by youth coach Don Ebert.

After graduating in 2003 he played college soccer at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he became a mainstay in the Bruins' midfield. At UCLA he was roommates with future national teammate Jonathan Bornstein. Feilhaber made the team as a walk-on, rather than being recruited with a scholarship offer. After his second year at UCLA Feilhaber was called up by the U.S. U-20 national soccer team to play in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands.

Club careerEdit

Hamburger SVEdit

His performances in the tournament caught the attention of scouts from several European teams and, after representing the U.S. in the 2005 Maccabiah Games in Israel where he won a silver medal playing for it alongside Jonathan Bornstein and Leonid Krupnik,[7][8] Feilhaber signed for Hamburger SV in July 2005. In the 2005–06 season, Feilhaber played with the Hamburg reserve team in the third division, or Regionalliga.

On October 12, 2006, Feilhaber made his Bundesliga debut, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 2–1 home loss to Schalke 04. His first start came on October 22, 2006, when he played ninety minutes in a 2–1 win against Bayer Leverkusen, Hamburg's first win of the season.

Derby CountyEdit

On August 9, 2007, Feilhaber obtained a work permit to play for newly promoted Premier League side Derby County.[9] His signing was completed on August 10, 2007,[10] and Feilhaber made his debut for the club on September 17, 2007, coming on as an eightieth-minute substitute in a 1–0 win over Newcastle United.

After the sacking of manager Billy Davies and the appointment of Paul Jewell, Feilhaber saw little playing time at Pride Park. During the 2007–08 winter transfer window Feilhaber was linked with Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv and American club New England Revolution but neither deal was completed. Derby released Feilhaber on a free transfer after being relegated from the Premier League after only one season.

AGF AarhusEdit

On August 15, 2008, Feilhaber signed with Danish Superliga team Aarhus Gymnastikforening, commonly known as AGF.[11] He made his debut for the club on September 1, 2008, coming on as a 59th-minute substitute in a 0–3 loss to FC Nordsjælland. He scored his first Superliga goal and was named Man of the Match against Randers on July 27, 2009.

During the spring season AGF struggled with injuries to key players, including Feilhaber. Feilhaber recovered slowly, but could not help the team avoid being relegated. Despite relegation Feilhaber remained at the club for the following season. Feilhaber clearly stated that he would have preferred a transfer to a bigger club, but when the transfer window closed he concentrated his efforts on the field. Feilhaber played very well in August, September, and October 2010, helping AGF to take a solid lead in the league. In the first 8 league games and 3 cup games, he scored six goals. Most notably he scored a hat-trick in the 6–3 win over Skive in a Danish Cup match.[12] He also scored a superb goal from a free kick three minutes into added time against Køge securing a vital 3–2 win.[13] Feilhaber gained significant respect from the fans due to his professional attitude in the fall of 2010.

After the winter break, AGF continued their winning streak in order to secure promotion to the Danish Superliga, but Feilhaber was mostly benched with a minor injury. On April 16, 2011, on the last day of the American transfer window, AGF sold Feilhaber to MLS.

Feilhaber made his debut for AGF in August 2008 and managed to play 58 games and scoring eight goals. His performance in the white jersey paved the way for his participation in the World Cup finals in South Africa with the U.S. national team.

New England RevolutionEdit

Following his transfer to MLS, Feilhaber was assigned to the New England Revolution through the returning US National Team player allocation process. New England selected Feilhaber after both Chivas USA and Philadelphia Union had passed on selecting him.[14]

Sporting Kansas CityEdit

Following the 2012 season, New England did not exercise his option. He was later traded to Sporting Kansas City in exchange for a 2014 MLS SuperDraft first-round pick, a 2015 MLS SuperDraft second-round pick, and allocation money.[15][16] Benny quickly found success in Kansas City, featuring as a starter for the side that captured the 2013 MLS Cup.

The 2015 season saw a return to top form for Feilhaber. He became a focal point in the entire scheme of attack, being more of a playmaker than ever before. As of September 18, 2015, he had amassed in 31 competitive appearances, 12 goals and 19 assists. In November 2015, he was named one of the three finalists for both the 2015 MLS Landon Donovan MVP Award.[17]

Los Angeles FCEdit

Feilhaber was traded to expansion side Los Angeles FC on January 3, 2018, in exchange for $400,000 in allocation money.[18] In 34 appearances for the franchise in its inaugural season he would score 3 goals and notch 6 assists.[19] Despite playing all but one competitive match for the club that year, Feilhaber found himself out of contract at the end of the season and became a free agent.[20]

Colorado RapidsEdit

On January 11, 2019, Feilhaber joined Colorado Rapids.[21]

Return to Kansas CityEdit

On May 8, 2019, Feilhaber was traded to Sporting Kansas City. He debuted on May 18 in a 1–1 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.[22]


After leaving Kansas City at the end of their 2019 season, Feilhaber officially announced his retirement from playing professional soccer on March 11, 2020.[23]

International careerEdit

Feilhaber was called up twice to the senior United States national team for friendlies against Scotland on November 12, 2005, and Germany on March 22, 2006, but did not play in either game.

On November 30, 2006, he turned down an offer from Andreas Herzog to play for Austria and said that he would instead focus on earning a place on the U.S. national team.[24]

On March 15, 2007, Feilhaber was again placed on the 24-man roster by coach Bob Bradley for friendly matches against Ecuador and Guatemala. Feilhaber made his first career start for the United States team in the March 25 game against Ecuador, and scored his first international goal against China on June 2. He scored the game-winning goal on a volley in the 2007 Gold Cup final on June 24 against Mexico.

After being demoted to the reserves at Derby and picking up a series of injuries, Feilhaber saw less time with the senior national team. However, Feilhaber was named to the United States Under-23 squad that competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics. He appeared as a substitute in all three games for the United States.

After more than a year since his last action with the senior team, Feilhaber was named to the United States roster for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. Along with former UCLA teammate Jonathan Bornstein and fellow UCLA alum Carlos Bocanegra, Feilhaber played in the upset of top-ranked Spain in a semi-final game on June 24, 2009. He orchestrated the second goal, rounding Gerard Pique to find Landon Donovan, who found Clint Dempsey for the finish in the center.[25] He then appeared in the final, in which the United States fell to Brazil, the country of his birth, 3–2.

Feilhaber was a part of the 23-man squad for the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. Feilhaber was used as a substitute, gaining playing time in two of the three group stage matches—a draw against Slovenia and a victory against Algeria. The United States finished at the top of Group C.[26] In the Round of 16, Feilhaber was substituted in for Robbie Findley in the second half of the match against Ghana. Commentators remarked on his ability to generate plays and praised his readiness to make decisions, many of which were key passes to set up chances to score. One such pass was a through ball for Clint Dempsey, who was then fouled in the box. Landon Donovan took the subsequent penalty and scored to tie the score at 1–1, although Ghana would later come back in the first half of extra time to score through Asamoah Gyan, ending the game 2–1.

Feilhaber was not called up to a national camp from January 2014 until October 2017,[27] even during and after his 2015 MLS Landon Donovan MVP Award finalist season. This has led Feilhaber become critical of national team manager Jürgen Klinsmann and his selection of players, saying "I don't think Jurgen calls in the best players that are available to him." Feilhaber went on to mention Sacha Kljestan, Dax McCarty, Matt Hedges, and Eric Lichaj as other players performing well that have not been called up by Klinsmann.[28][29][30] Klinsmann responded that Feilhaber was not able to perform as well as the national team staff hoped in prior camps, and saying that "He doesn't have a coach's perspective. He doesn't know how we put the pieces together. He doesn't know how we evaluate every position, how we evaluated the pieces that we need to connect."[31]

Coaching careerEdit

On August 25, 2020, Feilhaber returned to his former youth club UCLA Bruins as an assistant manager under manager Ryan Jorden.[32] He left the position on January 26, 2021 to return to Sporting Kansas City, becoming the Director of Technical Operations on the Sporting KC technical staff.[33] On August 23, he was appointed U-17 manager at Sporting Kansas' academy.[34]

Feilhaber was named head coach of Sporting Kansas City II for the 2022 season.[35]

Personal lifeEdit

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Feilhaber has stated that he supports the Brazilian team Botafogo. His father is a supporter of the team, and he has been one since a child.[36]

He married his wife, Michele, on December 15, 2012.[37] Feilhaber has a daughter named Sofia[38] and a daughter named Julia.[39]

Career statisticsEdit


Appearances and goals by club, season and competition[40][41]
Club Season League Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Hamburger SV II 2005–06 Regionalliga Nord 30 2 30 2
2006–07 Regionalliga Nord 19 1 19 1
Total 49 3 49 3
Hamburger SV 2006–07 Bundesliga 9 0 0 0 3[a] 0 12 0
Derby County 2007–08 Premier League 10 0 0 0 10 0
Aarhus 2008–09 Danish Superliga 10 0 0 0 10 0
2009–10 Danish Superliga 26 1 1 0 27 1
2010–11 Danish 1st Division 18 4 1 0 19 4
Total 54 5 2 0 56 5
New England Revolution 2011 MLS 23 4 0 0 23 4
2012 MLS 29 1 1 1 30 2
Total 52 5 1 1 53 6
Sporting Kansas City 2013 MLS 27 3 2 0 3[b] 0 4[c] 0 36 3
2014 MLS 31 4 0 0 6[b] 1 1[c] 0 38 5
2015 MLS 32 10 5 2 1[c] 0 38 12
2016 MLS 30 7 2 1 1[c] 0 33 8
2017 MLS 30 5 4 0 1[c] 0 35 5
Total 150 29 13 3 9 1 8 0 180 33
Los Angeles FC 2018 MLS 34 3 3 1 1[c] 0 38 4
Colorado Rapids 2019 MLS 9 2 0 0 9 2
Sporting Kansas City 2019 MLS 17 2 1 0 18 2
Career total 384 49 20 5 12 1 9 0 425 54
  1. ^ Appearances in the UEFA Champions League.
  2. ^ a b Appearances in the CONCACAF Champions League.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Appearances in the MLS Cup Playoffs.


Appearances and goals by national team and year[42]
National team Year Apps Goals
United States
2007 14 2
2008 2 0
2009 14 0
2010 8 0
2012 1 0
2013 1 0
2014 1 0
2017 3 0
Total 44 2
Scores and results list the United States' goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Feilhaber goal.
List of international goals scored by Benny Feilhaber[42]
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 June 2, 2007 Spartan Stadium, San Jose, United States   China 2–1 4–1 Friendly
2 June 24, 2007 Soldier Field, Chicago, United States   Mexico 2–1 2–1 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup


United States

Sporting Kansas City


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Benny Feilhaber". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  2. ^ Powers, John (June 15, 2007). "Feilhaber going with the flow". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on June 27, 2009. Retrieved June 25, 2007.
  3. ^ a b Miami Herald Retrieved November 14, 2009. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Are There Jews in the World Cup?". The Great Rabbino. June 8, 2010. Archived from the original on February 7, 2015. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  5. ^ Cohen, Emily (June 8, 2010). "Two Jewish SoCal Soccer Players Head for World Cup". The Jewish Journal. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  6. ^ Parikh, Sagar (July 25, 2005). "Midfielder signs to German squad". Daily Bruin.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Kaplan, Ron (2015). The Jewish Olympics: The History of the Maccabiah Games. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. ISBN 9781632208552.
  8. ^ "Two Jewish SoCal Soccer Players Head for World Cup – Sports". Jewish Journal. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010.
  9. ^ "U.S. midfielder Benny Feilhaber gets work permit to play for Derby County". USA Today. Associated Press. August 9, 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
  10. ^ Cornforth, Amanda (August 10, 2007). "Feilhaber completes Rams move". Sky Sports. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007.
  11. ^ "Feilhaber In Denmark To Sign Deal". August 15, 2008. Archived from the original on August 19, 2008. Retrieved August 29, 2008.
  12. ^ "Kapidzic åbnede og lukkede AGF-fest". September 22, 2010. Archived from the original on September 25, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
  13. ^ "Feilhaber matchvinder i overtiden". September 26, 2010. Archived from the original on September 28, 2010. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  14. ^ "New England claim US international Feilhaber". Major League Soccer. April 20, 2011. Archived from the original on April 23, 2011.
  15. ^ Austin, Kurt (December 11, 2012). "Sporting KC acquires midfielder Benny Feilhaber". Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  16. ^ "Revs trade Feilhaber to Sporting K.C." ESPN. December 11, 2012. Archived from the original on February 14, 2013. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  17. ^ "Benny Feilhaber, Sebastian Giovinco, Kei Kamara contend for Landon Donovan MVP as MLS announces 2015 Awards finalists". MLS Soccer. November 3, 2015. Archived from the original on November 4, 2015. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  18. ^ "LAFC acquires Benny Feilhaber from Sporting Kansas City". January 3, 2018. Archived from the original on January 4, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  19. ^ "Benny Feilhaber". Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  20. ^ "Benny Feilhaber signs Free Agent deal with Colorado Rapids". January 11, 2019. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  21. ^ "Colorado Rapids sign US international Benny Feilhaber". Colorado Rapids. January 11, 2019. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  22. ^ "Sporting KC acquires midfielder Benny Feilhaber in trade with Colorado Rapids". Sporting Kansas City. May 8, 2019. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  23. ^ "Benny Feilhaber retires after storied US men's national team, professional career". Major League Soccer. March 11, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  24. ^ "Doppelpass ins rot-weiß-rote Abseits". Archived from the original on June 19, 2009. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  25. ^ U.S. National Team Upsets Top-Ranked Spain, 2–0 Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, June 24, 2009
  26. ^ United States beat Algeria, top Group C, with late Landon Donovan goal, June 24, 2010
  27. ^ DelGallo, Alicia (October 3, 2017). "Benny Feilhaber 'shocked' by U.S. men's national team call-up". Orlando Sentinel.
  28. ^ French, Scott. "Sporting KC's Benny Feilhaber speaks out on US national team exile: "I don't think Klinsmann calls in the best players"". Archived from the original on April 3, 2016.
  29. ^ Davis, Noah (September 8, 2015). "America's Best American Midfielder: Why Can't Benny Feilhaber Get a USMNT Call-Up?". Grantland. Archived from the original on April 15, 2016.
  30. ^ Rogers, Martin (January 19, 2016). "Benny Feilhaber slams Jurgen Klinsmann's USMNT player selection policy". USA TODAY. Archived from the original on March 31, 2016.
  31. ^ Stejskal, Sam. "US national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann responds to Benny Feilhaber's rant in interviews with and ESPN FC". Archived from the original on April 1, 2016.
  32. ^ Benny Feilhaber, Juan Cervantes join UCLA Men’s Soccer coaching staff,, 25 August 2020
  33. ^ Former Sporting KC star Benny Feilhaber returns as assistant coach,, 26 January 2021
  34. ^ Benny Feilhaber appointed as Sporting KC Academy U-17 head coach,, 23 August 2021
  35. ^ Kovzan, Sam (January 12, 2022). "Benny Feilhaber named Sporting KC II head coach". Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  36. ^ Kaíque Ferreira (January 16, 2014). "Alvinegro, meia dos EUA lamenta saída de Seedorf: 'Deu tudo ao clube'" (in Portuguese). Lance!. Archived from the original on September 12, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  37. ^ Austin, Kurt. "Sporting KC acquires midfielder Benny Feilhaber". Sporting Kansas City. Archived from the original on October 17, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  38. ^ Sporting Kansas City [@SportingKC] (June 27, 2014). "Another beautiful #SKCBaby. Congrats again to @b_feilhaber22 and @meesh3309!" (Tweet). Retrieved October 8, 2014 – via Twitter.
  39. ^ Stejskal, Sam. "Chris Wondolowski, Benny Feilhaber welcome new additions to their families". Major League Soccer. Archived from the original on April 11, 2016. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  40. ^ Benny Feilhaber at
  41. ^ Benny Feilhaber at Soccerway. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  42. ^ a b "Benny Feilhaber". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmermann. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  43. ^ "Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame Home".

External linksEdit