The City Report Roundtable Volume 1 – The BundeSTLiga!


By now you've probably already read about the exciting, and somewhat unexpected,

news on the City SC academy coaching staff. The big head liner is Lutz tapping his old

Bundesliga colleague, Andreas Schumacher, to lead the academy as its first head

coach. There's no two ways about's exciting as hell to have *real* soccer news

breaking about our club. Below, Steve Rusnack, Andy Croley, Matt Zoellner, and Jordan

Durlester provide some thoughts and analysis on the hires:

1. Even though we're still ~2 years away from seeing our senior team take the

pitch, what does it mean to you to hear about these academy hires

happening now, in 2021?

SR: With the announcement on the academy hires, my first reaction was one of disbelief,

followed by amazement once it set in. I was shocked that the media didn't pounce on this, or

that a bigger deal wasn't made by the organization. I don't mean to criticize  St Louis City

SC, especially since they have gotten so much right, but I feel like a bigger presentation was

warranted here. I understand that hiring Academy coaches isn't as big of a deal as hiring first

team coaches to many, but in this case it's laying our foundation, our future. These coaches are

not only our first hires, they are also a major piece of our puzzle. It's downright exciting!

AC: The Academy is where it all starts. While lots of Academy players may not ever make it in

MLS, those who do will be loved and adored by the fans! So, having a strong coaching core is

essential to the growth of these players. The staff have to buy into the entire system. Academy

play is not about's about grooming talent (and fans need to understand this).

MZ: I'm interested but not overly surprised since the Academy & MLS Next is starting quicker

than the MLS team.

JD: Success on the pitch is never an accident; it's always the result of strategic planning, talent

identification and grooming, and a coaching staff that instills their philosophy about how the

squad should be playing. These hires lay the base for what our club is going to be. Make no

mistake about it; this is a big deal.

2. With Lutz running the show, the evidence would suggest we're going to

have a lot of German nationals/Bundesliga vets shaping how the club is

run. What do you think that'll mean to how we play/how the club runs?

SR: Lutz's natural ties to Bundesliga will definitely lead to more German hires, and most likely

signings as our roster starts to develop in less than a couple years. I don't necessarily think that

we will be overrun by German nationals, but I think there will be enough included in the

organization to have a major influence. I do believe that this will lead to a more German style of

mentality and play. Of course a big factor in how that translates to the first team will depend on

who is hired as our head coach.

AC: Honestly, I'm not sure Lutz's influence will truly attract more than 1-2 German players. And

I expect them to be young and inexperienced. At the end of the day, the roster will contain

mostly players from North, Central, and South America. And that's not Lutz's fault...that's the

nature of the MLS.

MZ: I might be in the minority here, but I think we won't have many German players. Currently,

the MLS has 5 players from Germany. MLS teams are getting foreign players, but they are not

German. Lutz may have more influence over a coach that has a German background. So that

possibly may change. Will the MLS now become a draw for the German youths to come play


JD: I firmly believe these hires are a sign of things to come (in the best way possible). I have no

doubt that CKB and the ownership group were keenly aware of (a) the plethora of young

American soccer talent that has developed in Germany over the years and (b) the unrivaled

commitment to team development and coaching by the DFB, when they hired Lutz. With that in

mind, I expect our future head coach to have German ties, and our overall club stewardship to

mimic the German clubs.

3. What's important to you about an academy? Do you want to see a strong

pipeline of academy kids make their way to the first team? Or is more

important to use as a mechanism to grow and sell talent to other leagues?

SR: I believe our academy is a big foundation of the organization. When you look at the talented

players who have come through academies at clubs like NYRB, Dallas, and Philadelphia, just to

name a few, over the years, you can't help but look on that in admiration and hope that our

academy can produce the same. Obviously not everyone out of an academy goes pro, but quite

a good number of them do make it, and some excel to the point of playing overseas for big

clubs, in big leagues. I would imagine that within the first couple seasons of City's existence on

the pitch, we'll see a couple players turn out from our academy. And yes, sometimes you do

need to sell some of these guys to not only help the team financially, but to help the player grow

to their highest potential. I'm sure that we'll become familiar with academy players names

before too long, and that in itself can be just as exciting as who we sign directly to our first team.

Afterall, these will be our guys, grown from our soil, from our team

AC: The answer is BOTH. Developing first team talent is crucial. But there is also tremendous

value in using that talent as a attractive trading bait to lure in a top player from another

team. And let's be honest....the very special academy players may even get looks from

European leagues, which is a more flattering way to showcase that is happening in the


MZ: To be successful, I think you need both; Homegrown players to fill roster spots, and if they

also happen to be starters, even better. With only 3 DPs and limited international spots, a team

needs to hit on homegrown players.

Selling homegrowns would be more important to me, however, that's clearly more difficult. It's a

sure fire way to pump cash into the team, whether that is used for current roster, academy, or


Some current MLS teams are getting a nice influx of cash from selling. I will say, and only time

will tell, but there are examples of, say, Atlanta selling players at their top, but then really

struggling to replace players sold. ATL has not been the same, or even close to the same, for 2-

3 years. Then you have Dallas, arguably the best homegrown network, and so far it is paying no

dividends. They are struggling mightily. Philly is at the high end, but Dallas has over 8 kids who

might have a chance to leave.....Seattle is closing the gap.

JD: I really want to see MLS increase their sales abroad. Demonstrating a strong talent pipeline

does wonders for establishing credibility for the league - and thus trickles down to the individual

clubs. City also needs to develop its own unique culture, and what better place for that to start

than the academy. On-the-pitch style and tactics also should be consistent amongst all levels to

ease the burden of players moving up the latter.

By Jordan Durlester