CITY's Future- Now Playing 3/29/22
We are Continuing our regular look at how our CITY signings and rumored signings are performing before they arrive in St. Louis later this year. Below are our players classified into either confirmed or rumored signings. As of March 29th, 2022 that list includes Josh Yaro, Selmir Pidro, Tomáš Ostrák, João Klauss, and Roman Bürki. Joakim Nilsson and St Louis CITY SC have reportedly agreed to terms, but no announcement has been made and given his prominence on the Swedish national team as well as helping his club team in a relegation battle, it may take a while for his signing to become official. This week was an international break for most of the world, so our players saw varying levels of action for their home countries. However here in the United States, a new league kicked off and St. Louis CITY 2, which will be incredibly integral to the build towards our first team, began play.
Josh Yaro - 5'11. 161 lbs. 27 yrs old. Center back
Yaro was drafted 2nd overall by the Philadelphia Union in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft and has played for Bethlehem Steel, San Antonio FC, and San Diego Loyal before joining St. Louis CITY SC on a free transfer. Yaro has the distinction of being the first player officially signed by CITY SC and to play for CITY2. Before moving to the first team, Yaro has been named captain of the St. Louis CITY 2 team for 2022.
3/29/22 Update: Yaro started at center back and played all 90 minutes for St. Louis CITY 2 as they played in the first ever MLS Next Pro match on Friday, March 25th. Yaro wore the captain's armband and led the team to a 2-0 victory against Rochester New York FC in front of a sold out crowd of 6,012 at Saint Louis University's Hermann Stadium. Yaro had a 72.7% pass completion rate and together with fellow center back Kyle Hiebert, kept a clean sheet to start off the year.
Selmir Pidro - 5'10. 170 lbs. 24 yrs old. Left back
The first officially announced player for St. Louis CITY SC, Pidro is a Bosnian international, currently with Bosnian top flight club FK Sarajevo. Pidro has been with FK Sarajevo since early 2014 in their youth academy and as of March 8th, has 81 appearances in all competitions for FK Sarajevo dating back to 2018. Pidro has 2 caps for the Bosnian national team, including most recently against the USMNT in a friendly in December 2021. Pidro comes to St. Louis CITY SC this July for a reported transfer fee of $380,000.
3/29/22 Update: Pidro's club team, FK Sarajevo has been on international break since their match on March 20. Pidro was not called up for Bosnia's international friendlies on March 25 and March 29th and as such, has not played since March 20.
Tomáš Ostrák - 5'7. 165 lbs. 22 yrs old. Attacking Midfielder
A Czech Republic youth international, Ostrák joined the Academy of 1. FC Köln in the German Bundesliga in 2016. He had loan spells with TSV Hartberg in the Austrian Bundesliga and MFK Karviná in the Czech Republic before being recalled by 1. FC Köln in July 2021. Ostrák has also seen time with the Czech youth national teams at the U21 (7 caps), U20 (2 caps), U19 (5 caps), U18 (3 caps), and U17 (7 caps) levels. Ostrák will join St. Louis CITY SC this July on a free transfer.
3/29/22 Update: Ostrák was called up to the Czech Republic's U21 side for UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualifying play. Ostrák started for the Czech U21s on March 25 against Albania and played 58 minutes before being subbed off. Ostrák played on the left mid of a 4-2-3-1 formation and was on the field during the lone goal that gave the Czech side a 1-0 win.
João Klauss - 6'3. 185 lbs. 25 yrs old. Center Forward/Striker
Klauss is the first Designated Player signed by CITY and hails from Brazil. Lutz Pfannenstiel was the man who brought Klauss from Brazil to Germany as a 19-year old, and signed him to his first professional contract with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim II, the reserve team of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim of the German Bundesliga. Klauss has also had multiple loans to clubs such as HJK Helsinki of the Finnish top league, Linzer ASK (LASK) of the Austrian top flight, and Jupiler Pro league (Belgian top flight) clubs Standard and currently with Sint-Truidense V.V. (STVV). Klauss has scored 64 goals in 192 competitions since turning pro. As an opportunity for consistency in his continued growth, Klauss signed a 3 ½ year contract with an option for another and will join St. Louis CITY SC this July for a reported $3m transfer fee.
3/29/22 Update: Klauss, the Brazilian center forward, has been on international break since his match on 3/20.
Roman Bürki - 6'2. 187 lbs. 31 yrs old. Goalkeeper
Bürki began his professional career at the age of 17 with Swiss club BSC Young Boys and was out on multiple loans until he found a new home with Grasshopper Club Zürich. Bürki began that stint on loan in 2011, but was eventually sold in 2013. Bürki had a brief period with SC Freiburg in 2014-2015 before moving to Borussia Dortmund in 2015. In both his stay with Grasshopper and Freiburg, Bürki started out as a backup and quickly took over the starting role. Bürki is a former Swiss international with experience in both World Cup Qualifiers as well as the EURO competition. He is still with Borussia Dortmund with his last game played for them being in May 2021.
3/29/22 Update: Bürki has not seen action since May 2021 for either club or country, when BVB made a change to their starting keeper, opting to go with their 24 yr old, $16.5m signing of the future. It is anticipated that his next competitive match may be with St. Louis CITY 2 in MLS Next Pro after he arrives in STL in July 2022.
Joakim Nilsson - 6'1. 172 lbs. 28 yrs old. Center back
Nilsson's playing career has seen him spend significant time in Sweden, spending a year with Swedish third division side IF Älgarna in 2009-2010, 2011-2016 with GIF Sundsvall bouncing between the Swedish first/second division side and three years from 2016-2019 with IF Elfsborg Boras in the first division. In 2019, Arminia Bielefeld in the Bundesliga paid $440k in transfer fees for Nilsson's services. He is a perennial starter for Bielefeld, having logged 49 matches in the German Bundesliga. Also of note, Manuel Veth from Transfermarkt reported on March 20 that Nilsson and CITY have agreed to full terms for a free summer transfer. However as Bielefeld are in a relegation fight, an announcement on his signing is not expected soon.
3/29/22 Update: Nilsson had an eventful week of international action. He played 120 minutes for Sweden in their World Cup Qualifier against the Czech Republic on March 24th. Nilsson started at center back in Sweden's 4-4-2 formation and was one of only 5 players on Sweden's team to play every minute of their extra time victory. Nilsson received a yellow card in the 46th minute for a late tackle. Nilsson will also be a part of Sweden's roster as they take on Poland in a World Cup Qualifying final, on Tuesday 3/29.
Wan Kuzain - 5'10. 139 lbs. 23 yrs old. Midfielder
Wan Kuzain is a very familiar face to anyone familiar with soccer in St. Louis. He developed in the St. Louis Scott Gallagher system, eventually being signed by Saint Louis FC in USL-Championship in 2016. Kuzain was loaned to their U23 team in PDL before being signed into the Sporting Kansas City system in 2017 where he played for the Swope Park Rangers (now SKCII). Over the course of the next few years, he alternated between Swope Park and Sporting Kansas City in MLS, where he made 58 appearances and scored 4 goals. Long rumored, Kuzain was a key signing by St. Louis CITY 2's inaugural roster and from the beginning, is rumored to have signed a similar deal to Josh Yaro, which would ensure him a spot on our 2023 MLS roster.
3/29/22 - I decided to follow Kuzain here due to the above rumor but also Kuzain's own CITY2 roster page has him listed as a Homegrown signing and being on the Supplemental Roster 25-28 slots, indicating a place on the MLS team in that particular category of player where Homegrowns often land. This could be a holdover from when he was with Sporting Kansas City, as he held the same designation with them, but as it's listed on his official CITY2 page plus the existing rumors, it's very notable.
This week, similar to Josh Yaro, Wan Kuzain started for St. Louis CITY 2 in the first ever MLS Next pro match. Kuzain started in the midfield and scored the first ever goal for CITY2 and MLS Next Pro in general, with a rebound shot off of a corner kick in the 20th minute from about 6 yards out after getting free of the defense. Kuzain played 87 minutes of the match, had a 64.3% passing success rate and for those who enjoy advanced metrics, had an xG of .019, which indicates his expected goals - a stat used to say how likely a player is to score a goal based on their position on the field when the shot is taken and taking into account the phase of play.