Benny Feilhaber

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Benny Feilhaber
Benny Feilhaber cropped.jpg
Feilhaber posing with fans in Pretoria during the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup
Personal information
Full name Benny Feilhaber
Date of birth (1985-01-19) January 19, 1985 (age 31)
Place of birth Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Sporting Kansas City
Number 10
Youth career
2000–2003 Irvine Strikers
2003–2004 UCLA Bruins
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 65 (5)
2011–2012 New England Revolution 52 (5)
2013– Sporting Kansas City 87 (17)
National team
2005 United States U20 11 (0)
2007–2008 United States U23 6 (0)
2007–2014 United States 41 (2)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of October 9, 2015.
† Appearances (goals)

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of February 3, 2014

Benny Feilhaber (/ˈflhɑːbər/; born January 19, 1985) is an American professional soccer player who plays for Sporting Kansas City in Major League Soccer as a midfielder.

Early life[edit]

Feilhaber was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[1][2] He is Jewish,[3] and was raised in his father's Jewish religion.[4] His paternal grandfather emigrated from the Austrian capital city of Vienna to Brazil in 1938 to escape the Nazi regime.[2]

Feilhaber was six years old when his family moved from Brazil to settle in the United States and spent approximately eight years in the New York City suburb of Scarsdale where he played for the local soccer team, the Scarsdale Lightning. He attended Nottingham Country Elementary in Katy, Texas. In 1996, he led the team and won the New York State Cup for the U-12 division.[5] 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 team-mate 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 career[edit]


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,[6] Feilhaber signed for Hamburg 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 County[edit]

On August 9, 2007, Feilhaber obtained a work permit to play for newly promoted Premier League side Derby County.[7] His signing was completed on August 10, 2007,[8] 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 Aarhus[edit]

On August 15, 2008, Feilhaber signed with Danish Superliga team Aarhus Gymnastikforening, commonly known as AGF.[9] 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 couldn't 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.[10] He also scored a superb goal from a free kick three minutes into added time against Køge securing a vital 3–2 win.[11] 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 Revolution[edit]

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.[12]

Sporting Kansas City[edit]

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.[13][14] Benny quickly found success in Kansas City, featuring as a starter for the side which 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 9/18/15 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.[15]

International career[edit]

Feilhaber was called up twice to the full U.S. 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.[16]

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 U.S. team in the March 25, 2007, game against Ecuador, and scored his first international goal against China on June 2, 2007. He scored the game-winning goal on a volley in the 2007 Gold Cup final on June 24, 2007, 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 U.S. Under-23 squad that competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics. He appeared as a substitute in all three games for the U.S.

After more than a year since his last action with the senior team, Feilhaber was named to the U.S. 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.[17] He then appeared in the final, in which the U.S. fell to the country of his birth, Brazil 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 against Slovenia (draw) and Algeria (win). USA finished first in the group after a stoppage time goal by Landon Donovan leading United States to a 1–0 win against Algeria in the last match, where Feilhaber played the entire second half.[18] Feilhaber was substituted in for Findley in the second half of the USA-Ghana game. 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.

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
01. June 2, 2007 Spartan Stadium, San Jose, USA  China PR
2 – 1
4 – 1
02. June 24, 2007 Soldier Field, Chicago, USA  Mexico
2 – 1
2 – 1
2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup

Personal life[edit]

Feilhaber is a supporter of the Brazilian team Botafogo.[19]

He married his wife, Michele, on December 15, 2012.[20] Feilhaber has a daughter named Sofia.[21]

Career statistics[edit]


As of December 14, 2014.
Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Germany League DFB-Pokal Other Europe Total
2006–07 Hamburger SV Bundesliga 9 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 12 0
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2007–08 Derby County Premier League 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 0
Denmark League Danish Cup League Cup Europe Total
2008–09 AGF Aarhus Superliga 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 0
2009–10 26 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 26 1
2010–11 1st Division 18 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 18 4
USA League Open Cup MLS Cup North America Total
2011 New England Revolution Major League Soccer 23 4 0 0 - - - - 23 4
2012 23 1 1 1 - - - - 24 2
2013 Sporting Kansas City 27 3 2 0 4 0 3 0 36 3
2014 31 4 - - 1 0 6 1 38 5
2015 32 10 5 2 1 0 - - 38 12
Total Germany 9 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 12 0
England 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 0
Denmark 54 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 54 5
USA 136 22 8 3 6 0 9 1 159 26
Career total 209 27 11 3 6 0 9 1 235 31


As of December 14, 2014.
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
Total 41 2


United States[edit]

Sporting Kansas City[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Powers, John (June 15, 2007). "Feilhaber going with the flow". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 25, 2007. 
  2. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Are There Jews in the World Cup?". The Great Rabbino. June 8, 2010. Retrieved October 15, 2011. 
  4. ^ Cohen, Emily (June 8, 2010). "Two Jewish SoCal Soccer Players Head for World Cup". The Jewish Journal. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  5. ^ Parikh, Sagar (July 25, 2005). "Midfielder signs to German squad". Daily Bruin. 
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ "U.S. midfielder Benny Feilhaber gets work permit to play for Derby County". USA Today. Associated Press. August 9, 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2007. 
  8. ^ Cornforth, Amanda (August 10, 2007). "Feilhaber completes Rams move". Sky Sports. 
  9. ^ "Feilhaber In Denmark To Sign Deal". August 15, 2008. Retrieved August 29, 2008. 
  10. ^ "Kapidzic åbnede og lukkede AGF-fest". September 22, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Feilhaber matchvinder i overtiden". September 26, 2010. Retrieved September 26, 2010. 
  12. ^ "New England claim US international Feilhaber". Major League Soccer. April 20, 2011. 
  13. ^ Austin, Kurt (December 11, 2012). "Sporting KC acquires midfielder Benny Feilhaber". Retrieved February 17, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Revs trade Feilhaber to Sporting K.C.". December 11, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2013.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  15. ^ "Benny Feilhaber, Sebastian Giovinco, Kei Kamara contend for Landon Donovan MVP as MLS announces 2015 Awards finalists". MLS Soccer. 3 November 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 
  16. ^ "Doppelpass ins rot-weiß-rote Abseits". Retrieved January 6, 2011. 
  17. ^ U.S. National Team Upsets Top-Ranked Spain, 2–0, June 24, 2009
  18. ^ United States beat Algeria, top Group C, with late Landon Donovan goal, June 24, 2010
  19. ^ Kaíque Ferreira (January 16, 2014). "Alvinegro, meia dos EUA lamenta saída de Seedorf: 'Deu tudo ao clube'" (in Portuguese). Lance!. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  20. ^ Austin, Kurt. "Sporting KC acquires midfielder Benny Feilhaber". Retrieved October 8, 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  21. ^ Retrieved October 8, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]