St. Louis City SC isn't scheduled to kick off its MLS expansion season until 2023, but sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel has been hard at work preparing the club for its impending launch and working out how to impart his vision on the club.
The 47-year-old German former goalkeeper sat down with St. Louis Magazine for a lengthy interview published on Monday and went deep on a variety of topics, one of which was the style of play he wants to see from the club when they finally take the field, and who he wants to model it after.
"We will not play 10 different styles because we have 10 different coaches," Pfannenstiel said. "We will play the same way and with the same values, from youth up to the professional team. The way you want to play football is attacking-minded, high-pressing, aggressive—a very modern approach to football, which will be very fast and exciting.
"If you follow how [the German club TSG 1899] Hoffenheim has played in recent years...it’s that kind of style, where you see a clear handwriting, how a club wants to perform and how a club wants to play. City’s game will not be based in playing long balls, which is more of a traditional English way of playing, or tiki-taka, like the Spanish style. I want it very fast-paced, direct, and attractive, because we want to create hype, an enthusiastic feeling going into the stadium. It shouldn’t be 11 guys playing some boring football."
Pfannenstiel also talked about the challenge of building a club from scratch, citing establishing an identity that fans in St. Louis can support and identify with as one of the most important things he needs to accomplish.
"For me, coming here, starting completely from scratch, it’s not just all about thinking, When do we win the first MLS Cup? When do we win the first title? These are all things that are important—to win, that must be everybody’s ambition, but most important is that we create a special football club that everybody feels close to, that the whole city support," he said. "And this is my big goal: getting a few players from our first academy age group into the big squad of the MLS, kicking off in 2023. And it’s not just creating good footballers… We want to create character. We definitely want to train them to become better athletes and players, but not everybody will become a pro. It’s our responsibility to create good personalities with the right values in life."