St. Louis’ MLS expansion team has signed international forward João Klauss as a Designated Player, pending his ITC, medical check and work authorization. Klauss, currently on loan at Sint-Truidense V.V in Belgium, will join the club via a transfer from German Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. The 25-year-old forward has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal, with an option for an additional year; however, the financial terms of his contract were not disclosed. He will join STL CITY SC in July 2022 after completing his loan spell with Sint-Truidense V.V.
Klauss was born in Santa Catarina, Brazil, and spent his youth career at local clubs Internacional, Clube Juventude’s and Grêmio’s before moving to Europe. In January 2017, Klauss, then a 19-year-old, traveled across the world to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional soccer player in Europe. He signed his first professional contract with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim II, the reserve team of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, after he was recruited by STL CITY Sporting Director Lutz Pfannenstiel, who was the Director of International Relations & Scouting at the German club at the time.
“Klauss is a player I have known since a very young age and I continued following his career,” explained Pfannenstiel. “In fact, Hoffenheim Director of Football Alexander Rosen and I played a major role in bringing him to Germany when I was at Hoffenheim. He has tremendous capacity to score and create chances for his teammates. Those attributes will surely help our team. His prime is ahead of him, and we are excited to help him maximize his potential.”
Klauss’ ability to hold the ball and being a proven goal scorer at the European level caught the attention of Pfannenstiel, who knew his unique playing style adds a different dynamic to any team, especially one that has a high pressing, and quick transitional playing philosophy, similar to the one being implemented at St. Louis CITY SC.
After his first season in Hoffenheim, he was loaned to Finnish top-flight club HJK Helsinki, helping the club to the Veikkausliiga Championship while finishing his campaign as the league’s top scorer with 21 goals.
The following season, he joined Austrian club Linzer ASK (LASK) and scored 24 goals across all competitions. In July 2020, Klauss returned to Hoffenheim’s first team, totaling 10 appearances (four in the Bundesliga, five in the Europa League and one in the DFB Cup). Klauss is currently on loan at Belgian top-tier club Sint-Truidense V.V.
“As a coach, it’s always good to have a quality striker on your team and Klauss is a player that is also willing to do the dirty work defensively,” commented Bradley Carnell, St. Louis CITY Head Coach. “We are excited to welcome Klauss to St. Louis and help make this city his home.”
“Klauss is a very talented striker with a strong physical appearance but is also a fantastic person. He has already proven his scoring ability in several leagues, and I am convinced that he will have a big impact in the MLS. With Lutz Pfannenstiel, St. Louis CITY has the ideal guy to build a strong team for the future. We worked successfully together for many years, and I wish him all the best,” remarked Alexander Rosen, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim Director of Professional Football.
Name: João Klauss
Pronunciation: Jow Klaw-uhs
DOB: March 1, 1997 (25)
Birthplace: Santa Catarina, Brazil
Height: 6’ 3”
Weight: 185 lbs
Nationality: Brazil/ Italy
Last Club: TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (on loan at Sint-Truidense V.V.)