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MLS new side St. Louis City SC names Bradley Carnell as first manager

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Major League Soccer expansion club St. Louis City SC has hired former New York Red Bulls assistant coach and former South Africa international defender Bradley Carnell to be the team’s first manager.

The team will begin play in 2023, but Carnell is keen to get started and bond with a city that has as rich a soccer history as any in the country, and match the energy of those employees who are already on board.

“When I started engaging with front office and ownership and talking with them, and just hearing the energy that they portray on a daily basis, the humble nature of these individuals in the front office, my first impression blew me out of the park,” he said in an exclusive interview with ESPN. “I can’t imagine how hungry the city is.”

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Carnell, 44, joins St. Louis after spending the past five seasons as an assistant with the Red Bulls, a period that included a spell as interim manager in 2020 following the dismissal of Chris Armas. During that time, New York went 6-5-3, helping the Red Bulls qualify for the postseason.

“The way I felt I went about it just gave me ambition and an appetite for more,” he said of his time managing the Red Bulls.

Carnell also lost his father, George, six months ago, and coping with that loss provided him with the impetus to step out of his assistant coach’s role on a more permanent basis.

“I didn’t want to be in a position to be like thinking in five years’ time, 10 years’ time, and then all of a sudden, the opportunity, it’s too late, and you will be this assistant coach forever,” he said. “That why I decided to punch into this and take this opportunity.”

For St. Louis sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel, Carnell’s modest amount of first team managerial experience wasn’t a hindrance. Instead, the South African checked two important boxes, one being a familiarity with MLS and the other a preference for a high-pressing style.

But Pfannenstiel also has a shared a bit of history with Carnell. Back in 2015, Pfannenstiel taught a three-week coaching course on behalf of the German Football Federation, the DFB, and one of his students was Carnell, who finished top of the class.

“It just starts molding your mindset and framing your mind where you want to take this thing and plants a few seeds of growth,” said Carnell. “Eventually, now we’re seven years down the line, and I’m sitting here at the table today. So my ambition grew, my hunger grew. And just applying that with the energy on a daily basis. And I’ve just done it by being me.”

Pfannenstiel was so impressed that made a mental note to keep an eye on Carnell as the years passed. His protégé’s successful interim stint in New York confirmed Pfannenstiel’s belief that Carnell was ready.

“He showed what he can do. He turned the fortunes around,” he said of Carnell’s time in charge of New York. “He had a very, very good body language. I saw his growth. I saw the way he speaks to the players. I saw how he can implement things and that interim period with the Red Bulls, I think that was just that final straw which gave us that little extra [confidence] that he’s our perfect choice.”

Pfannenstiel added that he feels Carnell’s style will be a perfect fit for the organization and the city.

“I think people here like to have a hard working team, a modest team, a team which gets out there and leaves every single piece of energy on that field,” he said. “We want to create an atmosphere that we’ll not just have a hungry head coach. You want to have a hungry team.”

As a player, Carnell spent the bulk of his career in Germany, suiting up for the likes of VfB Stuttgart, Borussia Monchengladbach, Karlsruher SC and Hansa Rostock. In his native South Africa, Carnell played for Wits University, Kaizer Chiefs and Supersport United.

At international level, Carnell made 42 appearances for South Africa and was part of the team that played in the 2002 World Cup.



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D.C. United transfers Kevin Paredes to Wolfsburg

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Given Paredes’s talent, United recognized it would lose him to a European club at some point in the next year or so. Nonetheless, it hoped he would, at the very least, start the MLS season, then perhaps move this summer or next winter. But Paredes’s value continued to rise overseas, and the offers became too hard to resist.



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Canada vs. USA: How to watch and stream, preview of World Cup qualifier

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Both Canada and the US earned victories this past Thursday to keep pace in their bids to reach the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Canada sit atop the eight-team Octagonal standings with 19 points, with the USMNT one point behind (18) and in second place in the race for three automatic World Cup berths.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s game.





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VfL Wolfsburg swoops for D.C. United homegrown star Kevin Paredes

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D.C. United homegrown Kevin Paredes is making the big move, with VfL Wolfsburg swooping in to bring the Virginia native to the Bundesliga. Terms were not reported by either club, but The Athletic’s Pablo Maurer has reported the German side is putting up $7.35 million in their initial transfer fee, with United getting an additional $500,000 if Paredes meets certain benchmarks relating to appearance totals. The Black-and-Red would also be due 10% of any transfer fee Wolfsburg brings in by selling Paredes’ rights in the future.

“We couldn’t be prouder and happier for Kevin to follow his dreams to compete in a great league like the German Bundesliga,” said Dave Kasper, United’s President of Soccer Operations, in a team press release. “Kevin’s rapid rise from our Academy to a first team starter is a testament to his desire, talent, and commitment, as well as a lot of hard work and support from our great coaches and staff at the club. All of us at the club wish Kevin a very long and successful professional career.”

“We are extremely proud of Kevin and the work that he has done to earn his opportunity to play at the highest level in Europe,” said United GM Lucy Rushton. “As a Homegrown, this transfer reflects the commitment and investment our ownership have made in our Academy infrastructure to prepare Kevin to fulfill his lifelong dream. We want to thank him for representing the club with so much pride and wish him the best of luck in his next chapter in the top flight of European soccer.”

Paredes, 18, made his debut in professional soccer with Loudoun United late in the 2019 USL Championship season, and his rise since then has been remarkable. D.C. United offered him a homegrown contract that winter, and while the MLS season was disrupted by Covid-19, a series of injuries and struggles as a club opened the door for Paredes to show what he could do. After making his debut in the MLS is Back Tournament that summer, Paredes used the next couple of months to assert himself as not just a promising youngster, but a player who was going to be a factor every week.

In 2021, under Hernán Losada, Paredes was first-choice whenever healthy, thriving as the team’s left wingback and quickly becoming a fan favorite thanks to his dribbling ability and high-energy style of play. In the end, Paredes made 41 appearances (28 starts) in his two seasons with United.

United will be able to convert $1.05 million of the fee into General Allocation Money (GAM), which they have stockpiled of late. Paredes’ departure comes two days after United made an MLS-record GAM trade, sending Paul Arriola to FC Dallas in a deal possibly worth up to $2.3 million. However, the club has also moved plenty of GAM in the meantime, sending $750,000 to the Seattle Sounders to acquire Brad Smith — very likely the player who will step into Paredes’ shoes on the left — just yesterday.

It’s been a furious remodel for United lately, who have also announced that they’ve signed Designated Player Taxiarchis Fountas on a pre-contract from Rapid Vienna, and have been strongly linked to a loan move for Toluca and Ecuador striker Michael Estrada.

The news of Paredes moving to Wolfsburg serves on one hand as an example to promising young players that United is capable of bringing a talent along quickly. Paredes went from academy program, to Loudoun, to starting at Audi Field, to the Bundesliga in very little time. Despite a record of giving more minutes to homegrown players than the majority of MLS clubs, United has to some extent had a reputation in youth soccer circles that was not favorable.

The club’s Pathway to Pro program was enacted to help change that, and between teenagers like Paredes, Moses Nyeman, and Griffin Yow getting first-team minutes, and Ryan Martin fielding one of the younger teams in the USL Championship over the last two seasons, there is a clear emphasis on shifting that perception. Paredes moving to the Bundesliga at 18 years old will go a long way on that front.

On the other hand, United’s hopes on the field take a hit with the move. Paredes, along with Andy Najar and Julian Gressel, were the players in 2022 that had to be at their best for United to hit top gear. Losing Paredes’ dribbling ability on the left, even with an experienced and respected replacement already in place, will be an obstacle for Losada and co. on the field this season.





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