St. Louis CITY extend sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel

Lutz STL City

St. Louis CITY SC have signed sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel to a contract extension through the 2026 MLS season, the club announced Friday.

Pfannenstiel has built the club’s sporting department from the ground up since joining in 2020, leading to St. Louis’ historic 2023 inaugural season. They were the first-ever expansion team to win a regular-season conference title, with 56 points (17W-12L-5D), one shy of MLS’s debut-club record.

“When we hired Lutz, we knew we were getting a top-tier sporting director who would quickly build a competitive club,” St. Louis CEO and owner Carolyn Kindle said in a release.

“In a short period of time, Lutz built not just a winning first team but also a highly competitive academy program, assembling an amazing roster of coaches, players and support staff members. But more than that, he believed in the ownership group’s vision and embraced the St. Louis community, which is why we are so pleased he will be with us moving forward.”

Key first-team signings include midfielder Eduard Löwen and striker João Klauss as Designated Players, as well as goalkeeper Roman Bürki – all of whom were acquired before the 2022 summer transfer window to help them get acclimated to St. Louis’ style and environment. Key domestic signings include center back Tim Parker and midfielders Indiana Vassilev and Aziel Jackson.

Pfannenstiel led the recruitment and hiring of head coach Bradley Carnell, the 2023 Sigi Schmid MLS Coach of the Year runner-up. That helped St. Louis tally an expansion-best 17 regular-season wins after a record-setting start and qualify for the Concacaf Champions Cup, among other accomplishments.

With Pfannenstiel in a leadership role, St. Louis have signed three homegrown players and saw their MLS NEXT Pro team make the league’s inaugural championship match in 2022.

“I am very appreciative for the opportunity to continue in St. Louis and couldn’t thank Carolyn, the ownership group and Diego [Gigliani] enough for their support,” said Pfannenstiel. “When I arrived in 2020, I had a short, medium and long-term plan as to how the future would pan out and this gives me the opportunity to further build on the foundation we have placed here.”

Before joining St. Louis, Pfannenstiel was sporting director at German side Fortuna Dusseldorf and was the head of international relations and scouting at Bundesliga side 1899 Hoffenheim. He also had an extensive playing career and worked as a broadcaster.