Major League Soccer side St. Louis City and head coach Bradley Carnell have agreed on a new contract extension.
Carnell, a finalist for the 2023 Coach of the Year City's inaugural season, will continue to lead the team.
Diego Gigliani, club president and general manager, was excited about continuing to work with the former South Africa international.
“We’re thrilled to be able to extend Bradley’s contract and keep him and his family here with us in St. Louis," he said in a statement.
"His leadership helped us achieve record-breaking results on the pitch and quickly established CITY SC as a club serious about building a winning tradition for our fans. We look forward to our future with Bradley leading the squad.”
Arriving in St. Louis in January 2022, Carnell quickly built a strong foundation, working with then-City2 coach John Hackworth to secure the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference title in their first season. During the 2022 season, he played a pivotal role in acclimating key players to the team’s system, setting the stage for the 2023 season.
“I want to say thank you to Lutz, Diego, Carolyn, and the ownership group for believing in me to help lead this project and continue from a successful Year 1,” said Carnell. “I am excited to continue working with the STL group. My family and I love the St. Louis area and can’t wait to build on top of the strong foundation that was built.”
Carnell's coaching philosophy, emphasising high-pressing principles, immediately made an impact in the 2023 preseason. The club achieved an unprecedented 5-0-0 start, becoming the first MLS team to reach this feat. The team, with eight different goal-scorers and two clean-sheets during the stretch, then became the quickest expansion team to reach 25 points in just 13 games.
Sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel praised Carnell, stating: “During his first full season as a head coach, Bradley quickly became one of the top coaches in the league.
"When we brought Bradley in to be City SC’s first-ever coach, we knew his work ethic and unique blend of MLS and international experience would help us be competitive, but I can safely say no one predicted CITY SC to finish the regular season as the best team in the Western Conference."
Carnell and and the club concluded the 2023 season as Western Conference Regular-Season champions with a 17-12-3 record.
They became the first expansion team to win a conference regular-season title and recorded 17 wins, tying for the second most team points in a season with 56.
Applying the Designated Team concept in 2023, St. Louis had 16 different goal scorers in MLS, with 28 players making an appearance and 24 different players making a start.
Carnell’s contributions led to his recognition as a finalist for coach of the year, as well as key player accolades, including Roman Bürki being named Goalkeeper of the Year and Bürki and Tim Parker being named to MLS Best XI in 2023.
Carnell, who began his coaching career with the University of Johannesburg men’s team, followed by an assistant coaching role at Orlando Pirates, has accrued a 23-17-6 MLS regular-season record as both an interim head coach with the New York Red Bulls and a full-time head coach with City.