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Carnell named St Louis City head coach

Bradley Carnell will be the first coach of Major League Soccer’s newest club, but won’t take charge of his first match for another year still.

Carnell was on Wednesday named as the coach of the newest Major Soccer League franchise St Louis City, but they are only entering into the league in 2023.

Carnell has a year to build his team now after being handed the newest job in the top-flight of North American soccer.

His appointment comes after the much-travelled former German goalkeeper Lutz Pfannenstiel, who was briefly at Orlando Pirates and also played in Namibia, was earlier appointed sporting director.

“Ahead of the club’s inaugural Major League Soccer season in 2023, St. Louis City names South African soccer legend and rising MLS coaching phenom Bradley Carnell as the club’s first head coach,” said a club statement.

“An experienced international player and coach, Carnell brings invaluable knowledge and expertise from within the MLS coaching ranks, given his most recent roles as an assistant coach and interim head coach at New York Red Bulls

“I am grateful to be a part of the St. Louis City family, a team where I can help build something special in a city that is already so passionate about soccer,” said Carnell.

“Lutz’s vision matches my ambitions of building a competitive team through the heavy use of data, technology and a keen focus on individual player development.

“I am looking forward to establishing a team that reflects St. Louis – one that’s diverse, hardworking and community led. I am thrilled to help create the future of the sport in an incredible soccer city.”

Pfannenstiel said there had been an extensive international search for a head coach and that the 44-year-old Carnell quickly rose to the top of the list, given his hands-on approach, proven success and passion for developing younger players.

“We can honestly say that we got our top candidate for the club’s first head coach position, and wanted to get him on board early given the integral role he’ll play in building our first team,” said Pfannenstiel

“We knew it was important to have someone who understood the ins and outs of the MLS, as well as the international market, and Bradley has all the attributes we were looking for. His experience as a player and coach set him apart, and I am confident that he will help us to build a very competitive team for our inaugural 2023 season.”

Carnell will be responsible for the on-field execution of the club’s soccer philosophy and will play a major role in team development by supporting Pfannenstiel in identifying players who fit the playing style.

“As a player, he embodied the intense, counter-press and quick transitional play that will define our style of play and as a coach, works tirelessly on and off the pitch to develop those abilities in players,” continued Pfannenstiel.

“His hunger and determination to succeed will get the best out of our players. Bradley and I speak a common language when it comes to our playing philosophy and he and I are fully aligned on the importance of identifying and developing players for our high-press style.”

Carnell counts Manchester United’s interim manager Ralf Rangnick as one of his mentors throughout his coaching career. He started as head coach for the University of Johannesburg followed by an assistant coaching role at Orlando Pirates before making his way to the MLS. In 2017, Carnell was an assistant coach for the New York Red Bulls and later named as the team’s interim head coach in September 2020.

“Several clubs have shown interest in his talents, so we knew we had to move quickly to bring him to St. Louis,” explained Carolyn Kindle Betz, the club’s president.

In Bradley we have an innovative, modest and forward-thinking head coach that wants to help revitalize and connect our region through soccer. We are thrilled he chose us.”

Major League Soccer has been steadily adding new cities to the league with Charlotte FC becoming its 28th team this year and St Louis due next in 2023.


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