St. Louis CITY SC Builds Academy Coaching Staff Ahead of Club’s Inaugural MLS NEXT Season
ST. LOUIS (July 15, 2021) - Ahead of the club's inaugural Major League Soccer (MLS) NEXT season this fall, St. Louis CITY SC takes another step towards building the best soccer youth development program in North America, bringing on Andreas Schumacher as the club's Academy Head Coach. Schumacher will be joined by Luis Swisher, David Critchley and Elvir Kafedžić as Academy Assistant Coaches, Tim Kelly as Academy Goalkeeper Coach and Charles Renken as Academy Specialist Coach.
Being brought in from Germany, Schumacher coached in the German Bundesliga for over 10 years. In his new role with the club, he will work in cooperation with St. Louis CITY SC Sporting Director Lutz Pfannenstiel to guide the development of the academy's U16 and U17 teams, which involves the overall planning and execution of the team's training programs. Additionally, he will ensure that the academy's goals and strategies align with St. Louis CITY's vision of making soccer accessible to all.
"It's an honor to be a part of St. Louis CITY SC, especially in the early stages where I'm able to work alongside Lutz to develop the academy structure and philosophy," said St. Louis CITY's Academy Head Coach Andreas Schumacher. "We've heard Lutz talk about how this is the most exciting project in the soccer world, and I have to agree. We get to lay the groundwork, and that starts with making sure we have the right coaches to help us best develop players both on and off the field."
Due to COVID-19 restrictions in Germany, Schumacher won't be able to travel to St. Louis immediately. In the interim, Schumacher will continue to work remotely with St. Louis CITY SC's Sporting Director, Lutz Pfannenstiel, who will serve as acting Head Coach, overseeing the day-to-day training and gameday duties for the U16 and U17 academy teams. As a FIFA certified instructor and an A License coach, Pfannenstiel is not only passionate about the training and development of the academy players, but he is also well-equipped for the role until Schumacher arrives in St. Louis.
Joining Pfannenstiel and Schumacher as assistant coaches, Luis Swisher, David Critchley and Elvir Kafedžić will support in creating the academy training, as well as developing complete players on and off the field.
Swisher played professionally for 16 years at various clubs in Europe and his home country, Guatemala in addition to playing for the Guatemalan National Team. Along with his playing career, he brings tremendous coaching experience - most recently as head coach of Saint Louis FC's U19 team. Critchley has coached for various teams, including Tulsa Soccer Club. His most recent role was at Lou Fusz Athletic as technical director, where he helped expand the organization's technical approach. Kafedžić burst onto the local soccer scene after helping Lindenwood University win its first and only National Associate of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Championship and went on to play professionally for St. Louis Strikers, St. Louis Steamers, Chicago Storm, the California Cougars and represented the United States in the Futsal World Cup. In 2013, Kafedžić established local soccer club, St. Louis Dragons, sharing his knowledge of the beautiful game with local youth players.
Goalkeeper coach Tim Kelly is well known throughout the St. Louis region developing young goalkeepers at Saint Louis University and Saint Louis FC. He will be responsible for executing training programs geared towards developing goalkeepers within the academy program, while Charles Renken will provide individual and group training for players. Renken has had a decorated career, playing professionally in MLS and USL, and coaching for various local soccer programs. Renken also trained as a player in the prestigious TSG Hoffenheim Academy in Germany and was a member of the youth national team representing the United States.
"We are incredibly excited to welcome our academy coaches to the club, who I will work closely with during the development of our academy. We've been able to build out a well-rounded sporting department that is in line with our club's vision," said St. Louis CITY SC Sporting Director Lutz Pfannenstiel. "Our coaches may have different backgrounds, but they all share the same passion for developing youth players. I am confident that the diverse and international background of these coaches will play a huge role in developing complete young men, which is very important for us as a team."
These coaches will join St. Louis CITY SC Sporting Director, Lutz Pfannenstiel, Director of Team Operations, Vin Ko and Sporting Consultant, Tim Twellman in continuing to build the best soccer youth development program in America. St. Louis CITY SC U16 and U17 Academy Teams will begin play in the MLS NEXT in fall 2021.
To learn more about the academy coaches, please find all coaches bios, headshots and group images in this link here. To stay up to date with St. Louis CITY SC, visit stlcitysc.com and follow the club on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.