St. Louis CITY SC announce ex-Bundesliga coach to head academy squads

St. Louis CITY SC have hired former Bundesliga coach Andreas Schumacher to head the club’s academy squads ahead of the MLS NEXT season in the fall.

Schumacher, who coached in the German Bundesliga for more than 10 years, will be supported 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.

Schumacher will work alongside St. Louis CITY sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel to guide the development of the academy’s U-16 and U-17 teams, which involves the overall planning and execution of the team’s training programs.

“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,” Schumacher said in a statement. “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, who most recently worked with the VfB Stuttgart academy, won’t be able to travel to St. Louis immediately, with Pfannenstiel serving as acting head coach in the meantime.

Born in Stuttgart, Schumacher was an assistant manager with Hamburger SV II, a coach with Stuttgart and was the manager of the Hamburger and Stuttgart academy sides. He began his playing career in the Stuttgart Kickers U19 Bundesliga team and continued as a professional in Germany’s lower tiers.

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. He has extensive 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 established the St. Louis Dragons club, sharing his knowledge of the beautiful game with local youth players. Kelly is well known throughout the St. Louis region developing young goalkeepers at Saint Louis University and Saint Louis FC. Renken, a highly decorated youth player who competed for St. Louis FC and Seattle Sounders 2 in the USL, will provide individual and group training for players.

“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,” Pfannenstiel said. “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.”

St. Louis CITY SC are set to join Major League Soccer as an expansion side in 2023.