Baker's City Bites: September 20, 2021


Fall is upon us, and it has brought an incredible uptick in St. Louis CITY SC news and information. We are 4 weeks into the MLS Next season where our U17 team sits at 2-2 with a +6 goal differential and our U16 team is off to a 3-0 start with a +14 goal differential. Both teams are playing into the exciting, fast paced, high press style that our Sporting Director, Lutz Pfannenstiel, touted before the season started. There is a lot of excitement on and off the field, and while our first team still has 18 months before their first kick, there will be no gap in on-field STL CITY SC play between now and then. From MLS Next to the upcoming MLS LDL (Lower Division League) that will start in March 2022, we'll have continuous CITY soccer to watch going forward.

With so much happening, this will be a space with (ideally) weekly updates on the latest happenings in the world of St. Louis CITY SC from one fan's perspective. The CITY SC Report is a destination for fans and by fans, to keep track of all things CITY and we have a lot in store for our website and socials but since so much is happening week in and week out now, I want to look at what has the club done recently? Why does it matter to fans? What rumors are circling the club? Is it exciting, worrying, interesting, or just plain fun, and why?

This past week saw three big events for CITY. First, the launch of the highly anticipated St. Louis CITY SC app. Most MLS clubs have an app, no MLS club has released an app 18 months prior to their kickoff in an effort to involve fans so far in advance of their first team's kickoff in all of their activities. The app launch included a launch video narrated by CXO Matt Sebek, an intro video by CEO and owner Carolyn Kindle Betz, select fan and player profiles, articles and features by national writer Zach Lowy. It also has unique profiles for each fan (social media was overtaken with CITY signings and fan jersey number reveals), and some nifty stadium features including a long-awaited live stadium cam and both an AR and VR stadium component. I would imagine we'll be seeing these AR stadiums pop up throughout the region and in some interesting places in the coming months. An impressive day 1, but where they go from here will be what's really important. Peter Wood is on board as the VP of Content with a dedicated team tasked to deliver new and interesting content and update the app going forward. While gameday will naturally be a focus in the future, the core of the app will be to continue to engage and heighten the fan experience between now and March 2023. Will we see this as a dedicated area for Academy/LDL match streams? Will there be behind the scenes stadium construction and food/drink info? Matt Sebek seems to have a grand vision for it and it will be exciting to see this unfold.

CITY also held their second vaccine event at Aloe Plaza, in the shadow of the stadium construction, this past Friday, September 17. We all know how important it has become for the present and future ability to safely gather in groups to enjoy, among other things, the soccer that we all know and love. These events, led by VP of Community Relations, Khalia Collier, are some great opportunities for CITY to reach beyond soccer and into the larger community to assist with not only the health and wellness of our region but also to grow the awareness of CITY and integrate as heavily as possible as a true community partner.

Finally, this past weekend, CITY was back in action in Westfield, Indiana facing the Indiana Fire Academy. Indiana Fire is an affiliate academy system of both the Chicago Fire of MLS and Indy XI of USL Championship. A few fans, part of the Louligan Tailgate crew, made the trip to watch our boys in action and witnessed mixed final results. A full matchday recap can be found here - Our U16 team came away with a 1-0 victory on the back of an 84th minute Jackson Delkus goal. This was Delkus' 9th goal of the young season. The U17s had another back and forth, hard fought matchup. They've made somewhat of an habit in these first few games of falling behind early and this match was no different. True to form though, they fought back to tie and battle before ultimately falling short, 3-4. According to the MLS Next schedule, the U16s do not have a listed matchup until October 17, to host Michigan Jaguars. We'll monitor to see if any matchups are scheduled or if scrimmages take place between now and then. The U17s, however, are back in action next Saturday, traveling to Sporting KC's Academy to kickoff the I-70 Derby with the first every SKC v STL CITY matchup.

I'll wrap this first of hopefully many articles with a tease. The St. Louligan podcast, This is SiLLy, recently interviewed Caleb Leon, Manager of Supporter Group Sales and Service with CITY SC. According to the twitter account of This is SiLLY, their interview is under a press embargo until 9/21. What type of embargo could exist with an interview with Caleb? Plenty of thoughts that might even be known by the time you read this, but we'll look to recap them next week.

By Matt Baker