Major League Soccer expansion team St. Louis CITY SC appointed Bradley Carnell as inaugural head coach ahead of their debut season in 2023, the club announced Wednesday. 

Carnell joins St. Louis after an extensive stint with the New York Red Bulls, serving as their assistant coach since 2017 and interim manager in September 2020 after Chris Armas was dismissed and before Gerhard Struber took over.

“We can honestly say that we got our top candidate for the club’s first head coach position, and wanted to get him on board early given the integral role he’ll play in building our first team,” sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel said in a release.

“We knew it was important to have someone who understood the ins and outs of the MLS, as well as the international market, and Bradley has all the attributes we were looking for. His experience as a player and coach set him apart, and I am confident that he will help us to build a very competitive team for our inaugural 2023 season.”

Before his involvement in Major League Soccer, Carnell served as the head coach for the University of Johannesburg men’s team and an assistant at South African top-flight club Orlando Pirates.

As a player, he featured 42 times for his native South Africa. He also competed for German Bundesliga clubs VfB Stuttgart and Borussia Monchengladbach.

“I am grateful to be a part of the St. Louis CITY family, a team where I can help build something special in a city that is already so passionate about soccer,” said Carnell. “Lutz’s vision matches my ambitions of building a competitive team through the heavy use of data, technology and a keen focus on individual player development.

“I am looking forward to establishing a team that reflects St. Louis – one that’s diverse, hardworking and community-led. I am thrilled to help create the future of the sport in an incredible soccer city.”

Though league’s newest expansion team is set to join in 2023, the club has already begun constructing a downtown stadium slated to hold 22,500 fans. 

“Several clubs have shown interest in his talents, so we knew we had to move quickly to bring him to St. Louis,” said president and CEO Carolyn Kindle Betz. “In Bradley we have an innovative, modest and forward-thinking head coach that wants to help revitalize and connect our region through soccer. We are thrilled he chose us.”

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