This past season for the Vancouver Whitecaps was to say the least as many have mentioned simply disastrous as far as the overall season went.
The club changed the role of Bobby Lendarzi, then Club President to the new title of Club Liaison, a role that many still don’t understand.
Many were perplexed with the timing of the change and felt given the struggles the club were having that waiting until the end of the season wouldn’t have really mattered.
Just like many were calling for the “removal” of Don Cherry, many Whitecap supporters were calling for the removal of Bobby, who unto itself if a soccer legend to the area.
Frustration arose following the move with Davies this past season many thought the club would bring in a “star” player to fill this void, but instead the club went on a roller coaster ride taking the fans along with them.
Regardless of what they tried things never worked out, no different from both the Canucks and Lions in our area, but 2020 is a new beginning for the Whitecaps and here’s hoping they get the bang for the buck they are expecting?
Regardless of the timing; the change was made and the search was on for as they called it a “sporting director.”
In a press event held at UBC the Whitecaps made it official by announcing and introducing Alex Schuster as the clubs first Sporting Director, effective immediately.
He (Schuster) brings over two decades of experience with him at German clubs FSV Mainz 05 and FC Schalke 04.
Whitecaps FC co-owner Jeff Mallett told the media that were able to make the event on short notice and mentioned the following “We worked with a leading global sports recruitment firm, conducted an extensive search, interviewed numerous highly-qualified candidates, and hire our top choice in Axel.”
He continued “Axel brings great vision and a wealth of knowledge and passion. His addition is a monumental step forward for our club and Axel will lead soccer operations VP Greg Anderson, Marc Dos Santos (Head Coach) and the entire technical team towards a clear objective.”
Schuster arrives in Canada following over two decades in Germany with Bundesliga clubs 1. FSV Mainz 05 and most recently FC Schalke 04.
The native of Cologne, Germany will oversee all technical aspects of the club from youth to the first team.
Schuster mentioned “When I first learned about this opportunity, I was immediately interested and excited. I’m really happy to be here, in this city, and officially start and I’ve met a lot of people in the business. This ownership is really passionate and my first impression was that all the people I’ve met at the club work with that passion. That gave me a very good feeling. There’s a lot of energy in everybody in this club. It’s up to me and everyone at the club to work together, to bring this energy and achieve our targets.
“We have to make the right decisions right now to influence next season; to acquire and transfer the right players, to give Marc a group of players that can win. And then, step-by-step, we have to continue to work on our philosophy, our recruitment, and the pathway from the academy to the first team.”
He (Schuster) spent three years as the Senior Director of Pro Football for FC Schalke 04.
While there the Royal Blues the first team finished second overall in the 2017-18 Bundesliga season advancing to the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League.
He also lead the overall development and execution of a Global Scouting department with Schalke.
Schuster started at 1. FSV Mainz 05 as a youth coach, which quickly evolved into the role of youth director, and soon after head of football operations.
His tenure at Mainz, Schuster was 22 years working closely with the club’s Head Coaches including Jürgen Klopp in which the club earn promotion to the Bundesliga and a spot in the UEFA Cup for the first time in the history of the club.
The club also played in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League under head coaches Thomas Tuchel and Kasper Hjulmand. At the youth level, the club’s U-19 team won the 2009 championship.
Schuster studied law at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, holds a UEFA A Licence, and is fluent in German, English, and Spanish.
Sportswave wishes to thank the Vancouver Whitecaps Media Department for the press release and wish them all the best in 2020.
Whitecaps FC sporting director Axel Schuster
- Reporting to ownership, oversees all technical aspects of Whitecaps FC from youth to first team
- Senior director of professional football at FC Schalke 04 from June 2016 to June 2019, included a runner-up finish during the 2017-18 Bundesliga season and qualification to the UEFA Champions League, which saw them advance to the knockout stage
- Head of football operations at FSV Mainz 05 for over 16 years, from December 1999 to June 2016, and helped the club earn promotion to the Bundesliga, a spot in the UEFA Cup, and a U-19 championship for the first time in club history
- Youth coach and later youth director at FSV Mainz 05 from 1992 to 1999, holds a UEFA A Licence