St Louis CITY SC Launches Free Regional Soccer and Life Skills Program for St. Louis Area Children 

Program Lead Sascha Bauer joins the club as Director of Regional Training and Education

Sascha Bauer article header

From the moment St. Louis’ Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team was first announced, St Louis CITY SC has made it their priority to be more than just a soccer team. This April, the club is set to launch CITY Futures Program, which will provide no-cost, multi-level, high-quality soccer training and holistic player-person development throughout the St. Louis region. The CITY Futures program seeks to make the sport of soccer accessible to all children in the St. Louis region, as well as help show children that through the power of play, they can practice life skills like goal setting, leadership skills, teamwork, mindfulness, and conflict resolution.

The CITY Futures program has several layers: way-to-play sessions, free coaching education classes for local coaches, and monthly all-region-friendly tournaments starting in summer 2022. The way-to-play sessions last between 60-90 min depending on age and are free and accessible for boys and girls between 7 and 14 of all playing levels – from the first kick of the ball to club-level players. The sessions will work on developing soccer-specific skills as well as supporting character and personality development to better serve our players in sport and in life. All program participants will have the opportunity to compete in monthly friendly tournaments comprised of mixed teams from all CITY satellite locations.

The way-to-play sessions begin at one of STL CITY’s satellite locations, Bayless High School (4532 Weber Rd., St. Louis, MO 63123), with an official kick-off event on Saturday, April 2. This event provides parents and children with the opportunity to come out and meet the program’s coaches and learn more about the program. There will be two separate sessions offered, split up by age groups.

  • 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. | Kids in the 7-8 and 9-10 age groups
  • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Kids in the 11-12 and 13-14 age groups

Following the kick-off event, the free way-to-play sessions will take place weekly at Bayless High School beginning on Wednesday, April 6. These sessions will be ongoing and led by STL CITY SC community coaches, with the play sessions divided up by age groups, including:

  • 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. | 7-8 age group
  • 5:30 – 6:45 p.m. | 9-10 age group
  • 5:30 – 6:45 p.m. | 11-12 age group
  • 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. | 13-14 age group

Over the course of 2022, the club will identify various satellite locations for each part of the St. Louis region – North, South, East, West, and Central – until there is consistent, nearby programming accessible to every child that wants to be involved. The second location will be the Central Satellite Location at Cardinal Ritter High School, launching in May 2022.

“Since day one, we have been a community-driven club that is devoted to lifting up and inspiring the St. Louis community through the power of soccer,” said Vice President of Community Relations Khalia Collier. “Through the relaunch of our regional training program, we will continue to grow the sport by creating, sustainable, inclusive, and accessible programming to all within the St. Louis region.”

There are many benefits offered by programs similar to the CITY Futures program beyond the physical exercise component, including impact on children’s social interaction skills, student motivation, and overall healthier mind and body.

“A review of 43 studies of after school programs (ASPs) found most describe positive associations between ASP participation and increases in student motivation, effort, and attachment to school. Likewise, most studies included in the review found that participants experienced an improved sense of well-being (increased self-efficacy and self-concept, and decreased anxiety and depression) compared to non-participants,” stated in a study conducted in 2018 by McDowell Group titled ‘The Role of Afterschool Programs’. The study additionally found through a longitudinal study of 3,000 students’ participation in ASPs that, “elementary school students showed gains in social skills with peers and prosocial behaviors, as well as decreases in aggressive behaviors with peers.”

Joining the club to build out and manage the program is Sascha Bauer, St. Louis CITY SC’s Director of Regional Training and Education. Bauer joins the team with over 20 years of experience in developing and implementing training plans for soccer players and coaches, including through his own social profit organization – Football For Worldwide Unity.

“I am so passionate about developing training programs for players and introducing and elevating the sports to all areas of our city. We want to help players to become the best they can dream of, as athletes and humans,” said Bauer. “Not only do we want to grow the players on the field, but the development off the field is just as important. Through our program we will focus on developing the holistic player by focusing each week on different skills, ranging from physical, technical and tactical skills to social and emotional skills.”

In his role with STL CITY SC, Bauer will be responsible for the creation of a holistic player development curriculum and coach-to-coaches education for the club, in cooperation with Missouri Youth Soccer Association. He also will develop relationships with area soccer clubs and youth organizations, alongside Collier, including the recently announced partnership with Gateway Region YMCA.

St. Louis families that are interested in the weekly training sessions at Bayless High School can register at this link here. To learn more about Sascha Bauer, please find his bio and headshot here. To stay up to date with St. Louis CITY SC, download St. Louis CITY SC’s Official App, available for iOS through the Apple App Store and Android through Google Play, or visit and follow the club on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.