The Philadelphia Union will hire Ernst Tanner as their new sporting director, The Athletic reported Wednesday.
Tanner will replace Earnie Stewart who left the Union to take the new U.S. Men’s National Team general manager position with the U.S. Soccer Federation.
The 51-year-old Tanner spent the last five years as academy director for Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg. He brings a championship pedigree to Philadelphia, as Salzburg won the Austrian Bundesliga title six of the last seven years.
The hire indicates Philadelphia will put a continued emphasis on youth development in the coming years. Under Stewart, five academy players graduated to the Union’s first team. Teenagers Mark McKenzie and Auston Trusty, two academy centerbacks, have made a combined 35 starts for the Union this year, with Trusty starting every one of Philly’s 22 games.
If anyone will be able to continue to develop the Union’s academy, it’s Tanner.
Big name players including Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino and Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson developed under Tanner. Salzburg won the 2016-17 UEFA Youth League during Tanner’s tenure as well.
Prior to Salzburg, Tanner spent three years at German outfit Hoffenheim, developing Americans Russell Canouse, Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams. He also helped develop USMNT striker Bobby Wood during his tenure as 1860 Munich’s academy director.