City Report Roundtable Volume 6: Vote For Pidro
Uh...hey guys?...SAINT LOUIS CITY SC SIGNED A FIRST TEAM PLAYER! I mean, look, all the front-office stuff has been great - and we all know Charlotte was over-the-moon about our app - but this news just hit DIFFERENT. Below Steve, Andy, Joe and Baker chat about City's first, first-team signing, Selmir Pidro.
1. Our first official first-team signing is a modern, get forward and help with attack, fullback. What are your thoughts about how this meshes with what we've heard from the coaching staff on overarching vision?
SR: First off, I am beyond excited that we have our very first signing!! How amazing that this is finally happening. And to have a speedy, aggressive, attacking style left-back fits in perfectly with what Lutz and Carnell are striving for.
AC: Honestly, the first signing is exciting, but it's only one player. I'll need to see a lot more signings/roster additions before I'm able to determine how things mesh with the vision. That being said, it is definitely a step in the right direction.
JC: I love attacking fullbacks (my favorite player ever is Dani Alves), but only if that's what they really are. Sometimes coaches take a failed midfielder and try to convert them into an attacking fullback, and that's not the same thing. If Pidro is truly a legitimate fullback who can still push up-field, then I think that's a great roster piece to start with.
MB: I think the quotes we saw from Lutz and Coach Carnell on announcement day said exactly what we wanted to hear. Pidro is fast, aggressive, pushes up the field, with good vision and a quick left foot. As an Arsenal fan, in watching his tape and hearing him be described, it reminds me of Kieran Tierney who seems like more of a winger at times, always pushing up to throw in the cross. It sounds like it meshes 100% with the high press, aggressive style that Lutz has consistently talked about. Playing style wise, like most things with this announcement, sounds fantastic so far.
2. Squad building is a complex process that requires adherence to some tight guiding principles - Pidro is 23 and this is technically pre-prime by most accepted soccer standards. What are your thoughts on that? Do you want the squad to skew younger overall?
SR: I love when teams are stocked full of young, highly skilled players. I think this is the way to go. Younger players means less injuries and they tend to be fearless, and with a hunger to go out and get the work done. Of course there are advantages to older, experienced players as well. I feel that a mostly young team with a couple experienced players here and there could be the winning combination.
AC: Obviously Lutz and the staff feel confident Pidro's skill set, as well as his upside, to make him the first (announced) signing. I'm not sure who determines the "most accepted soccer standards", but talented young players like Pidro can easily be worth the investment. Now it's on the coaching staff to bring out the best in him. As a new team it will be important to have a good mix of youth and experienced players. Strong young players allow for a sustainable future, but they will need some experienced players to provide leadership (on and off the pitch).
JC: I think starting with younger players is great, because the goal should be to build a franchise. I don't think winning the league is a realistic goal for the first year, so I'm more concerned with seeing guys who'll be here long enough to build with.
MB: Pidro seems to have a great mix that we're somewhat used to seeing on the USMNT at this point. Really young but a decent amount of experience in high pressure situations. Pidro might only be 23, but with experience in winning trophies with his club in Bosnia, minutes in the Europa League and Champions League Qualifiers, you have to assume he plays with the knowledge well beyond his years. I think his age, being signed through 2025 is very exciting and speaks initially to building the best roster, not the flashiest name who might be available. I would love the squad to skew younger. There are a lot of MLS rules in place that reward clubs for higher value, younger players. The Young DP and Under-22 initiative rules provide direct benefit to your roster and while Pidro isn't expected to be a DP level player, this is a good initial indication of who they're scouting internationally.
3. The Bosnian population are a special and important part of who STL is as a region. Do you think it's an accident our first signing is Bosnian? How special do you think this must be for our large, soccer crazy Bosnian population?
SR: Having a Bosnian player is huge for our city. I am sure trying to find a player from that country, or background even, was important. But I feel that Lutz and Company wouldn't settle on just any player from there, it had to be someone special. Pidro sounds like he is just that. If Pidro turns out to be the player we are hoping for, then the Bosnian community and the rest of St Louis will be thrilled.
AC: My gut says they have other signings in their pocket but this was a calculated and strategic announcement because of the Bosnian community that exists in our region. I imagine that this signing is exciting for the Bosnian population and gives them another reason to be proud CITY supporters.
JC: Lutz says that they didn't specifically sign Pidro first just because he's Bosnian, but I have to think there's a reason they were scouting the Bosnian league. That's just smart. I wouldn't be surprised if the local Bosnian connections keep a stream of players looking to sign here for years to come.
don't think it's an accident, but I also don't think it was purposeful to
require our first signing be Bosnian. It is incredible that it worked out that
way because as I've said before, you only get one first signing and it should
be a splash. This was the splash that resonated so heavily with the St. Louis
community. I cannot imagine how excited and proud our local Bosnian community
is to see themselves represented in our first signing and to know that the club
is walking the walk when it comes to really feeling like a community driven
club. Our leadership has a massive international scouting network, so just as
this worked out where you have a Bosnian who is highly sought after by MLS
& international clubs with national team experience, the hope would be we
continue to see signings that reflect the makeup of our region while also being
of the caliber we expect. It won't always work out so serendipitously, but it
is really cool when it does.
By Jordan Durlester