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Former MLS Superdraft First Round Pick Josh Yaro to Play a Major Role on St. Louis’ MLS NEXT Pro Team

Before the upcoming inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season kicks off in March 2022, St. Louis CITY SC is introducing their roster for STL CITY2, the club’s development team that will participate in the MLS NEXT Pro League. STL CITY2 is the next step after St. Louis CITY’s MLS NEXT Academy and will serve as an incubator for the club’s academy and younger players, accelerating their development as they gain valuable experience practicing and playing alongside and against professional players. Players and coaches will have the opportunity to test new ideas, develop leadership skills, and fine-tune the details of the club’s soccer philosophy.

“MLS NEXT Pro is the perfect platform for us to continue laying the foundation as we build out our team ahead of our inaugural MLS season in 2023,” said Lutz Pfannenstiel, St. Louis CITY’s Sporting Director. “We were able to recruit some exciting and talented players while also being able to promote our academy players, which is very important for us as a club. From the beginning, we have always said we wanted to create a pipeline where our players can develop, and so we are extremely pleased to have so many players from the St. Louis region and from our St. Louis CITY Academy in the first-ever STL CITY2 roster, with the hope that some of them will go on to play on the first team in 2023 or beyond.”

Serving as a building block for the first team in Major League Soccer (MLS), STL CITY2 will allow players to get familiar with CITY’s high-pressing, hard-working, and positively aggressive style of play as they continue to develop their abilities and professional experience. This year will also serve as a pathway for players who will help build out the St. Louis CITY first team, including Josh Yaro, a former Philadelphia Union center back who will play for STL CITY2 in 2022 but is destined for the first team in 2023. For other local players like former Saint Louis University (SLU) midfielder AJ Palazzolo and former Missouri State University (MSU) goalkeeper Michael Creek, this will be their first shots at professional play.

STL CITY2 will be led in the interim by Director of Coaching John Hackworth, with support from current Academy Assistant Coach Elvir Kafedžić, joining as the STL CITY2 assistant coach. Additional support will come from Alex Langer as director of goalkeeping, Tyler Harris as the athletic trainer, Brendan Gittemeier as equipment manager, and Bomi Park as player relations manager.

“From the staff to the players, we have managed to assemble a strong team,” said John Hackworth, St. Louis CITY’s Director of Coaching and Interim STL CITY2 Pro Head Coach. “We have a really balanced roster with players from other professional leagues, various college teams, and our academy program. We wanted this team to be about development and to provide opportunities for players to learn the CITY soccer philosophy and hopefully we can see a few of these guys make the transition to the first team next year.”

St. Louis CITY2 is one of 21 clubs that will compete in MLS’ new professional league MLS NEXT Pro and will compete in the Western Conference alongside Colorado, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, Portland, Salt Lake, San Jose, Seattle, and Vancouver.

To stay up to date on all things St. Louis CITY SC, download the official team app and follow the club on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Name
Position
Hometown
Dida Armstrong
Forward
Rutherfordton, NC
Ezra Armstrong
Defender
Gastonia, NC
Michael Creek
Goalkeeper
Saint Louis, MO
Josh Dolling
Forward
London, England
Anthony Faupel
Forward
Saint Charles, MO
Nathan Ferguson
Forward
Glen Carbon, IL
Karson Gibbs
Forward
Saint Louis, MO
Ryley Gibbs
Midfielder
Saint Louis, MO
Aaron Heard
Midfielder
Fairfax, VA
Kyle Hiebert
Defender
Manitoba, Canada
Josh Maher
Defender
Caseyville, IL
Célio Pompeu Martins
Midfielder
Fortaleza, Brazil
Alex Palazzolo
Midfielder
Saint Louis, MO
Miguel Perez
Midfielder
Saint Louis, MO
Sergio Rivas
Midfielder
Eden Prairie, MN
Max Schneider
Midfielder
Cologne, Germany
Fritz Volmar
Defender
Saint Louis, MO
Jack Wagoner
Midfielder
Chesterfield, MO
Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal
Midfielder
Carbondale, IL
Akil Watts
Defender
Fort Wayne, IN
Joshua Yaro
Defender
Kumasi, Ghana
Kwame Awuah
Midfielder
Toronto, Ontario
Vitor Dias
Midfielder
Huntington, WV
Ben Di Rosa
Defender
Washington, D.C.
Eric Walker
Goalkeeper
Saint Louis, MO