By Alistair Fannell
St Louis City Soccer Club is one year away of opening their first training camp of their 2023 inaugural season in Major League Soccer and all signs are that they are building a Title Contender team since they came to existence in August 2019. The Club made their first big move when they hired former German Goal Keeper Lutz Pfannenstiel as the Club Sporting Director, then on January 5th the team named Bradley Carnell as the franchise first Head Coach. Carnell has a long soccer history as a member of the South African World Cup team in 2002. He also played in Bundesliga and spent his final playing career in the South African Premier Division until he became a member of the New York Red Bulls coaching from 2017-2020 and replace Chris Armas to become Interim Head Coach for the Remainder of the 2020 season.
Neither Sporting Director Lutz Pfannenstiel, Coach Carnell or Team Owner Carolyn Kindle Betz are waiting for the 2023 inaugural season. In fact St. Louis has already fielded it’s U-17 team during the 2021 season which showed success on the field and starting in 2022 the Club will join 20 MLS clubs fielding a team this year in the new MLS NEXT Pro league season. This new league will show case players from youth to professional ranks in hopes to further their soccer careers in front of coaching staffs and scouting directors from various MLS teams. Look for St. Louis City SC to add International players from South America and Europe from various Soccer Leagues that could make a huge impact for the ball club along with veteran free agents from various clubs around the Major League Soccer and there could be some players who have ties to the St. Louis area that are available in the Free Agent Market.
It’s not uncommon to build a Championship team right away if it’s done correctly in the MLS. The Chicago Fire won their first Major League Soccer title in their first season along with the U.S. Open Soccer Cup tournament in 1998. Seattle Sounders were instant contenders in their first season in 2009 and won three straight U.S. Open Cup titles from 2009-2011 and qualified for the playoffs in their season. It took two season for Atlanta United to win the MLS Cup Trophy in 2018 while Los Angeles FC won the Supporters Shield Trophy by having the best record in the League in their second season and nearly becoming the first MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions League Finals in 2020. Then their are cautionary tales of expansion teams that struggle badly in their first severals years of existence like Inter Miami, Toronto FC, FC Cincinnati, Orlando City and Austin FC. So it’s very import for St Louis City to get on strong start for a city that has if not one the biggest soccer culture in America that dates back to 1875 and that produce 31 soccer hall of famers from the St. Louis. As St. Louis Sports fans wait with great anticipation a year from now, The Club is build up a quality front office and coaching staff with the hopes of joining the St. Louis Cardinals and Blues by adding another Championship caliber team and winning culture for the community.