City's Future- Now Playing 4/19/22
Another week of our continuing 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 April 19, 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. Nilsson has, up until recently, been a featured back on Sweden's national team in their fight to qualify for the World Cup. He is also fighting to help his club team in a relegation battle. As such, it may take another month or so for his signing to become official. A vacation precluded this feature last week but we're back to see what our players have been up to in the past couple of weeks. Relatively speaking compared to previous weeks, it was somewhat quiet and more uneventful for our specific players that we're keeping an eye on who will feature for St. Louis CITY SC in 2023.
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.
4/19/22 Update: With 2 matches in the coming week, including the US Open Cup 3rd round matchup on 4/20, Josh Yaro received his first rest of the season in a derby match against Sporting Kansas City II on Saturday 4/16. Yaro came on as a 2nd half sub for Ben Di Rosa in the 66th minute and played the remaining 24 minutes. Yaro had a 60% pass completion percentage and ensured CITY2 held onto their one goal lead for their 3rd straight victory in MLS Next Pro.
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.
4/19/22 Update: Pidro started for FK Sarajevo at left back on April 10th against HSK Zrinjski Mostar. He played the first half but was subbed off at the start of the second half. After Pidro was subbed off, Sarajevo went on to give up 3 more goals and lose the match 4-0.
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.
4/19/22 Update: Ostrák was not in either the first or second team for 1. FC Köln this past week as they played Borussia Mönchengladbach and Wuppertaler SV respectively. Reports out of Germany are that Ostrák has an illness and is not fit.
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 most recently with Sint-Truidense V.V. (STVV). Klauss has scored 65 goals in 195 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 $3.52m transfer fee.
4/19/22 Update: As of last week, the first ever DP for CITY had wrapped his season with STVV. Last week's article detailed his departure back to Brazil before he will eventually come to St. Louis this summer. This week, all is quiet for João Klauss.
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.
4/19/22 Update: No change. 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.
4/19/22 Update: Nilsson started and played all 90 minutes in Arminia Bielefeld's Bundeslia matchup against Bayern Munich. Bielefeld went on to lose 3-0, in a match where FotMob gave Nilsson a 5.9 rating. While this might seem low, Bielefeld's highest rated player was just 6.8 in an obviously difficult matchup. Bielefeld has had a rough run of matches, going winless in their last 7 as they fight to remain in Germany's top flight.
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.
I wanted 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, he's more than worth tracking here.
4/19/22 - Kuzain started once again for CITY2 against Sporting KC II on Saturday 4/16 at Rock Chalk Park. Kuzain has started all 4 games in all competitions so far in this young 2022 season. On Saturday, Kuzain played 66 minutes until he was subbed off for Vitor Dias. Kuzain picked up a yellow card in the 20th minute, had an 80% passing accuracy percentage and had one shot attempt.
By Matt Baker