The Athletic is reporting that John Hackworth will join the St. Louis City SC technical staff. More detail is certain to come but I’ve been anticipating this announcement since Hackworth resigned from his role with Louisville City in late April. STL City adds a coach with both US National Team and MLS experience.
He’ll join MLS expansion franchise St. Louis City SC with a technical role that will have direct involvement with their first team and the academy, multiple sources tell The Athletic. The role will see him working with sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel as the club builds out its sporting operations.
UPDATE – the club announced the hiring of Andreas Schumacher from VfB Stuttgart and noted he will be coaching both the U16 and U17 teams with five assistants – David Critchley (Lou Fusz Technical Director), Tim Kelly (GK Coach, STLFC Academy), Elvir Kafedzic (STL Dragons), Charles Renken and Luis Swisher (STLFC Academy Director). It also fits what I described in October 2020
The job skills may have been written in a naive fashion, not considering the narrow applicant pool. Or, as is often the case, it was written with a specific candidate in mind. There is no reason for STLcitySC to do a public search unless they want the protection to say “see what we did” when they bring in a Director from outside.
Most folks here probably recall Hackworth from his time leading Josh Sargent and the U17 Youth National team, including the friendly played here in 2016, both seen here in the picture above from that match at St Louis Soccer Park. For now, let’s look at his background and as more becomes public I’ll either update this report or add a new one.
It could very likely be that he’ll become the Academy Director. The job description when posted noted a need for three primary skills – Must have experience in Major League Soccer, Youth Development and have completed the Pro License Course through US Soccer or UEFA A License. Hackworth picked up the Pro Course license in 2016 along with Peter Vermes (see link my story). It would match the career path that Steve Trittschuh has taken with SLSG soccer club that could be appealing given the likelihood that an MLS job would be on the horizon.
WHY HACKWORTH IS LIKELY TO BE THE ACADEMY DIRECTOR
1. He served as the inaugural Technical Director for the US Soccer Development Academy
2. His record leading the U15 and U17 YNT was excellent
3. He was the first assistant and Youth Development Coordinator for Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union, now a leading developer of MLS talent
St. Louis Soccer City has shown a desire to build something new and significant, drawing first Lutz Pffanenstiel’s attention and it could easily be the case that the same vision has attracted Hackworth. An opportunity to put down roots after a career full of moves, in a city with a strong soccer culture and build something new is not unlike what we see with Steve Trittschuh’s and Brad Davis’ moves at SLSG. While both are natives of the area, the long-term opportunity to build something is also a strong attraction. We don’t know what the Taylor families track record will be when it comes to hiring, or more significantly, firing coaches but I’d like to believe that the approach they are taking is measured and with a longer term view. Personally I’d prefer to see a strong emphasis on homegrown players that would make it tougher to win early in the cycle. It was an area STLFC were sorely lacking in with one signing from their Academy – Nichi Vlastos – who had five appearances over the course of one and a half seasons and has since disappeared from view. With only one playoff season in six years of existence, it wasn’t as if they did a great job of chasing wins rather than offering the ‘path to pro’ that the club touts. Attendance would likely have improved as well, insulated from the need to win to attract followers.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT JOHN HACKWORTH (at USsoccer.com)
Since 2002, Hackworth has been a U.S. Soccer coaching education instructor for the A, B and C licenses. Most recently in December 2016, Hackworth was part of the first graduation class of the highest form of soccer licensing offered in North America, the U.S. Soccer Pro License course.
Concurrent to his role under Bradley, in 2007 Hackworth was also charged with starting the U.S. Soccer Development Academy where he served as the inaugural Technical Director.
In November 2009, Hackworth took on his first challenge in the professional ranks, becoming the first assistant and Youth Development Coordinator for Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union. In 2012, Hackworth was quickly tagged as head coach after a promising record in an interim role. Though he departed the club during the 2014 season, his legacy there can still be felt in the Academy ranks, where he laid the early seeds for the club’s burgeoning youth system.
Hackworth led the U-17 MNT back to the Knockout Round of the next two World Cups. At the 2005 competition in Peru, a side featuring Jozy Altidore and Omar Gonzalez helped the USA defeat Korea DPR (3-2) and Italy (3-1) before a 2-0 defeat to the Netherlands in the quarterfinals to finish fifth in the world. In 2007, a U.S. team with Brek Shea and Greg Garza downed Belgium 2-0 in its final Group Stage game before a narrow 2-1 defeat to third-place finisher Germany in the Round of 16.
Upon the conclusion of the 2007 U-17 World Cup, Hackworth became an assistant coach with the Men’s National Team, assisting Bob Bradley in qualifying the USA for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Hackworth and his team fulfilled their mission in making their way to the U-17 World Cup. A high-flying attack which featured Josh Sargent, Timothy Weah and Andrew Carleton earned Group Stage wins against host India (3-0) and Ghana (1-0), before an emphatic 5-0 victory against Paraguay in the Round of 16. The victory was the USA’s first Knockout Round since the tournament expanded to 24 teams, but was also sixth overall for Hackworth as a head coach, tying him with Roy Rees (1987, 1989, 1991, 1993) for most wins by a U.S. coach at the U-17 World Cup. Though the side’s magical run ended with a defeat to eventual champs England in the Quarterfinals, Hackworth’s team once again showed well.
John Hackworth Headed to St. Louis City SC? The photo with Josh Sargent is from the October 2016 friendly here against the newly formed STLFC U19 Academy team
The crescendo from the @LouCoopers drum line leading up to this 1st @pdp03 goal was so good🙌. Thanks to all our amazing fans for helping us secure 3 points last night @lynnfmlystadium The Cathedral was Rockin! @USLChampionship @loucityfc https://t.co/sS6KfJmL1g
— John Hackworth (@hackworthsoccer) April 25, 2021
Want to reflect on the last couple of days after having some time to think.
1) Disappointed with the result on Saturday. Nothing has gone our way this season, but we’re doing all the right things and have full belief in our coaches & in one another. We will turn it around.
— Morgan Hackworth (@HackworthMorgan) May 24, 2021