Ernst Tanner - Philadelphia Union - Talen Energy Stadium

The Philadelphia Union and sporting director Ernst Tanner have agreed to a multi-year contract extension, the club announced Monday.

Tanner took over as sporting director in October 2018. Since his appointment, the Union have since set a club record for points in 2019 then won their first-ever trophy by lifting the Supporters' Shield last year. The Shield also qualified the team for their first-ever Concacaf Champions League berth and they are the lone MLS team standing, awaiting their semifinal clash against Club America later this season.

β€œWe knew when we hired Ernst we were getting a top-tier sporting director who could take our club to the next level. Thanks to his leadership and buy-in from coaches, players, and the entire staff at the Philadelphia Union, we have experienced continued progress and enjoyed the two best seasons in our history,” Principal Owner Jay Sugarman said in a club statement. β€œOur core values are player development, a pressing, team-first, never-say-die style of play, and a commitment to innovation. Ernst has helped us turn those values into a winning formula that we believe can be a platform for long-term success."

Tanner oversaw the Union's tactical switch to a high-pressing, transitional system. The club have acquired a number of unheralded signings who have had great success in MLS, including Kacper Przybylko, Kai Wagner, Jose Martinez, Leon Flach and more. The club have also leaned into their academy, with Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie the two prime examples. Both made big-money transfers to Europe this winter.

"Ernst helped us show young players that this club offers a pathway to their dreams of being professional soccer players in MLS and in Europe," Sugarman said. "We have signed eight Homegrown players to the first team under Ernst and were recently named the best academy in the country. With Ernst continuing at the helm of our soccer operations, we look forward to bringing Philly fans the thrilling soccer they have come to love.”

Prior to arriving in Philadelphia, Tanner's resume in Europe was extensive. He had been sporting director of Bundesliga club Hoffenheim and head of youth football at RB Salzburg.