Ernst Tanner named Philadelphia Union sporting director

Ernst Tanner

Ernst Tanner is the new Philadelphia Union sporting director, the club announced on Thursday morning.

The 51-year-old German, who will be unveiled at a press conference at noon ET on Thursday, arrives from Red Bull Salzburg, where he was the academy and youth football head coach since 2012. He had previous stints with TSV 1860 Munich and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and has 24 years of technical experience and a reputation for mining and developing talent.

Tanner will start in mid-September, following the completion of his duties with RB Salzburg as well as the finalization of the immigration process. He replaces Earnie Stewart, who left to become the general manager of the US men’s national team.

“We are pleased to announce that Ernst Tanner will be the second sporting director in Philadelphia Union history,” Philadelphia Union chairman/owner Jay Sugarman said in a statement. “Ernst comes to Philadelphia with a strong track record of methodology implementation as well as player development and recruitment. He has worked for successful clubs at the highest level in Europe, signing and nurturing premier level talent at every stop. Coupled with his impressive worldwide soccer network and scouting acumen, we believe that Ernst is the perfect leader to continue building and improving upon the promising foundation we have established.”

At TSG 1899, held various positions from academy director (2009-10) to sporting director (2010-12) for the Bundesliga side. Among Tanner’s most notable successes include the scouting and signing of current Liverpool star Roberto Firmino from Brazilian second-division side Figueirense.

Under Tanner's leadership, Red Bull Salzburg won the UEFA Youth League championship two years ago.

“I have followed the Union since the early days of the club, and over the past three seasons, there have obviously been many productive changes in terms of methodology and player development,” Tanner said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to utilizing my almost 25 years of experience and global player recruitment abilities to continue and forward the club’s trajectory. I also look forward to generating new ideas to advance the Union to even greater heights.”