City SC hoping its advance planning will lead to speedy team building

City SC hoping its advance planning will lead to speedy team building

After practice on Friday, the St. Louis coach said:

City SC’s life on the pitch has been short, hitting Day 4 on Saturday, and one of the biggest challenges facing Carnell and his staff as they prepare for their team’s first season is shaping a team, taking a collection from the players. literally from all over the world – by the time they all show up, the team will have players from four continents – and turn them into a cohesive and competitive group.

City SC has tried several moves to speed up that process. Thirteen of the players trained alongside City2, the team’s development squad, last season. Two of the players played under coach Bradley Carnell when he was with the New York Red Bulls. While most of the international players the team brought in come from different countries, most have a common background of playing in the Bundesliga, Germany’s domestic league. Very few players on the team are unrelated to someone else on the team. And three of the four members of the coaching staff worked together last season with City2.

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“In MLS,” said veteran defender Tim Parker, who played under Carnell with the Red Bulls, “it’s one of those things where when you bring in a lot of different guys from a lot of different countries, it usually takes a while to gel. , but having a core group of these guys that were here from the MLS Next Pro team is definitely helpful because they kind of understand the way Bradley wants to play or the way we want to play.”

For midfielder Jared Stroud, another player who worked with Carnell at the Red Bulls, this is his second expansion team. Two seasons ago, he played with Austin in his first season in the league. Without the advantage of the MLS Next Pro development league that City SC could use last season, the first time most of these players were on the field together was on the first day of training camp.

“It was very different,” Stroud said. “It’s good that there’s camaraderie here and the guys know each other and it feels like you’re jumping into a team that’s already on its feet, which is very helpful, especially for the culture in the dressing room.

“I need to set the standard and help push this team so we don’t make the mistakes we did in our first year in Austin. But at the same time in Austin, we built a really good team and it took two years, and hopefully in St. Louis. Louis, let’s not have those growing pains. But at the end of the day it’s a five, six-year project, right? We want to make this team a dynasty and we need to understand what works and what doesn’t.”

“It’s getting everybody up to speed with the style we want to play,” defenseman Jake Nerwinski said, “buying everybody in and making sure everybody’s ready to do it. And from what I’ve seen so far, and when I’ve met the guys and gotten to know them a little bit, it seems like everybody’s bought in, everybody’s willing to do the work. So it’s refreshing, it’s nice. But it’s going to be tough. There’s going to be some growing pains .Hopefully, less than we want, but that’s all part of a first-year team.”

Austin was hit hard by injuries in his first season and finished 9-21-4 in 2021 (he also played the first eight games on the road because his stadium wasn’t finished, a problem City SC won’t have) . In 2022, Austin went 16-10-8, finished with the second-best record in the Western Conference and reached the semifinals of the MLS playoffs.

“They find players who work, they have a system and they believe in a coach,” Stroud said. “Josh (Wolff) struggled the first year, then they trusted him and continued to push their philosophy and it worked out. And that’s what it’s all about, and it all starts from ownership to (sporting director) Lutz (Pfannenstiel) to the coaches. It’s all about believing in the philosophy and then bringing in the players and executing every Saturday.”

“It’s still an ongoing process,” Carnell said. “The season will tell. We will have ebbs and flows and ups and downs and we will have to work through difficult times. We know what’s coming our way and we understand what we have to do to be competitive, and I think we’re working hard because every day that goes by is one less day to prepare. I think every day is a big step forward.”

The next step for the team is an intra-squad clash on Sunday. It will consist of two 20-minute parts and will have balanced rosters.

“(To use) the principles and ingredients that we’ve given them now,” Carnell said. “We’ve shown them the small versions of what we do in tight spaces, we’ve opened up spaces, now we can play on a big pitch and how it all comes together in an 11s game. 11. I don’t want to shout tomorrow and instruct you. Guys, go and become teammates now and see if you can figure this thing out together. We will then evaluate and correct where we went wrong, it will guide us and help us improve.”

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