Report: Union Hire New Sporting Director

Looks like the Union completed their GM search before the Sixers did.

Go figure.

Kristian Dyer at The Athletic says the team will bring in Ernst Tanner from Red Bull Salzburg to replace Earnie Stewart, who left to take a job with U.S. Soccer after two and a half years in Chester. 

From the story:

Multiple sources tell The Athletic that the Union is set to announce this week the hiring Ernst Tanner. Most recently at Red Bull Salzburg as the head of its academy and youth set-up, Tanner has a strong reputation throughout Europe for mining talent and developing it for Salzburg’s youth team.

He held similar posts in Germany with 1860 Munich and Hoffenheim. At Hoffenheim, he also served as sporting director for a season.

Looks like a great hire on paper.

The Red Bull teams, which include New York, Salzburg, and Leipzig, all have a strong track record of promoting youth and bringing home grown talent through the pipeline. That’s what the Union are trying to do as they start a pair of local 19 year olds in defense and continue to promote domestic players from Bethlehem Steel and the YSC Academy in Wayne.

I do wonder, however, how Tanner will approach the international transfer market and wonky MLS rules. He was Salzburg’s academy director and not a senior player-personnel executive, so I assume he was not involved in outside transfers and contract negotiations and things like that.

But it looks like that season at Hoffenheim was actually two seasons as “Director of Football,” according to Transfermarkt.

In that time, Hoffenheim added Americans Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams and sold Vedad Ibisevic. They also brought in Gylfi Sigurdsson, Ryan Babel, Kevin Volland, and Bobby Firmino, who is now tearing it up at Liverpool.

Here are some more of those arrivals from 2010 to 2012:

So if he was in charge of the market back then, he did a pretty damn good job I’d say. Hoffenheim didn’t have a massive budget, but like most German teams, they were smart with their money and knew when youth players were ready for the senior team.

Either way, it’s clear he was brought in for his track record with youth, and Union Technical Director Chris Albright and the fledgling scouting department are going to have to complement Tanner in making smart transfers on a shoestring budget.

Otherwise, it’s very on-brand for the Union, a really nice move I think. Owner Jay Sugarman just needs to give these guys the resources to be successful, so that we can have relevant soccer in Philly for the first time ever.

 

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