Bradley Carnell: “I am looking forward to establishing a team that reflects St. Louis – one that’s diverse, hardworking and community led.” (Photo courtesy of St. Louis City SC)

Red Bulls assistant coach Bradley Carnell has a new title – head coach.

On Wednesday, Carnell was named head coach of St. Louis City SC, which will join Major League Soccer as an expansion team in 2023, sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel announced.

“I am grateful to be a part of the St. Louis City family, a team where I can help build something special in a city that is already so passionate about soccer,” Carnell said in a statement. “Lutz’s vision matches my ambitions of building a competitive team through the heavy use of data, technology and a keen focus on individual player development. I am looking forward to establishing a team that reflects St. Louis – one that’s diverse, hardworking and community led. I am thrilled to help create the future of the sport in an incredible soccer city.”

Following an extensive international search for a head coach who mirrored the club’s vision and sporting philosophy, Carnell quickly rose to the top of the list, given his hands-on approach, success and passion for developing younger players.

“We can honestly say that we got our top candidate for the club’s first head coach position, and wanted to get him on board early given the integral role he’ll play in building our first team,” Pfannenstiel said in a statement. “We knew it was important to have someone who understood the ins and outs of the MLS, as well as the international market, and Bradley has all the attributes we were looking for. His experience as a player and coach set him apart, and I am confident that he will help us to build a very competitive team for our inaugural 2023 season.”

Carnell will be responsible for the on-field execution of the club’s soccer philosophy and will play a major role in team development by supporting Pfannenstiel in identifying players who fit the team’s playing style.

“As a player, he embodied the intense, counter-press and quick transitional play that will define City’s style of play and as a coach, works tirelessly on and off the pitch to develop those abilities in players,” Pfannenstiel said. “His hunger and determination to succeed will get the best out of our players. Bradley and I speak a common language when it come to our playing philosophy and he and I are fully aligned on the importance of identifying and developing players for our high-press style.”

Carnell was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he began his playing career at local clubs Wits University (now Bidvest Wits FC) and Kaizer Chiefs before moving on to play in the Bundesliga with VfB Stuttgart and Borussia Monchengladbach. At Stuttgart, Manchester United’s interim manager Ralf Rangnick made a huge impact on Carnell’s soccer development and has been a mentor throughout his coaching career. Carnell also made 42 appearances the South African national team, making 42 appearances from 1997-2010, including three starts in the 2002 World Cup.

He started as head coach for the University of Johannesburg men’s team, followed by an assistant coaching role at the Orlando Pirates before making his way to MLS. In 2017, Carnell joined the Red Bulls as assistant coach and named interim head coach in September 2020. He directed the team to a sixth-place finish in the MLS Eastern Conference. Carnell returned to his role as the Red Bulls assistant coach for the 2021 season.

“Several clubs have shown interest in his talents, so we knew we had to move quickly to bring him to St. Louis,” St. Louis City SC president Carolyn Kindle Betz said in a statement. “In Bradley we have an innovative, modest and forward-thinking head coach that wants to help revitalize and connect our region through soccer. We are thrilled he chose us.”

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at