Axel Schuster - Vancouver Whitecaps - sporting director
Courtesy of Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC sporting director Axel Schuster adds CEO to job title

The Vancouver Whitecaps have appointed sporting director Axel Schuster to a new role, now as sporting director and CEO, the club announced Tuesday. He will report directly to co-owner and executive chair Jeff Mallett and the ownership group.

The club's previous CEO Mark Pannes is no longer with the club. He joined the Whitecaps organization in January. Schuster was hired as sporting director in November of 2019, after working for the likes of FSV Mainz 05 and FC Schalke.

"On behalf of the ownership group, we are extremely proud of the numerous accomplishments and unwavering commitment by every member of the Whitecaps team across the club during these challenging times,” Mallett said in a statement. “The club has been active in helping those in need and remains focused on supporting our community members, supporters, and business partners. We are thankful to Mark Pannes for all his positive contributions to the club the last few months and his active role in a number of these successful community programs. He has been a passionate leader and we wish him all the best in the future.

“It’s with that strategic initiative that we have decided to combine the CEO and sporting director roles under Axel Schuster," Mallet added.

Over his first offseason in charge, Schuster added the likes of club-record signing Lucas Cavallini, three Homegrown signings as well as an eclectic group of talent from across the globe. Vancouver finished at the bottom of the Western Conference last season before Schuster arrived. 

"We are a club that believes in the power of teamwork and the mentality of our group," Schuster said. "Paired with a strong commitment to our culture, we will continue on our chosen path to build a winner on and off the pitch. I am thankful to the ownership for their trust and belief in me. These are exceptional times, and our focus will be on positioning the club to come through this even stronger and more united than before.”

The Whitecaps return to action in Group B of the MLS is Back Tournament, alongside the Seattle Sounders, FC Dallas and the San Jose Earthquakes.