Ernst Tanner Agrees to Multi-Year Contract Extension

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By Siobhan Nolan, Contributing Writer

Ernst Tanner, sporting director for the Philadelphia Union, has agreed to a multi-year contract with the club, the Union announced Monday.

Tanner was named as sporting director in 2018, and the club has seen positive outcomes in MLS since his appointment. In 2019, not even a year after coming to the club, the Union set a club record for total points in the league. Last year, they famously lifted their first-ever trophy, the 2020 Supporters’ Shield. This year, the Union are the only MLS team left standing in their debut season in the CONCACAF Champions League. In MLS, the Union are currently sitting third in the Eastern Conference, and are one of the top three defensive teams in the league.

Prior to his move to Philadelphia, Tanner was a renowned figure in European soccer. He was the sporting director of Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, along with previously having been head of youth football at another Bundesliga club, RB Salzburg.

“We knew when we hired Ernst we were getting a top-tier sporting director who could take our club to the next level. Thanks to his leadership and buy-in from coaches, players, and the entire staff at the Philadelphia Union, we have experienced continued progress and enjoyed the two best seasons in our history,” Owner Jay Sugarman said in a club statement. “Our core values are player development, a pressing, team-first, never-say-die style of play, and a commitment to innovation. Ernst has helped us turn those values into a winning formula that we believe can be a platform for long-term success.”

Tanner has been known to sign under-the-radar, but immensely talented, players from overseas to serve the Union’s transition to a high-pressing, creative, and fluid style of play. He’s responsible for the singings of Kacper Przybylko, Kai Wagner, Jose Martinez, and Leon Flach, and also had a hand in the transfers of Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie to Europe.

Tanner also bolsters the sentiment that Jim Curtin has long held concerning the Union’s internationally-recognized academy. Sugarman highlighted Tanner’s ability to spot local elite talent and successfully develop them into professionals that are wanted by a number of clubs both domestically and overseas.

“Ernst helped us show young players that this club offers a pathway to their dreams of being professional soccer players in MLS and in Europe. We have signed eight Homegrown players to the first team under Ernst and were recently named the best academy in the country. With Ernst continuing at the helm of our soccer operations, we look forward to bringing Philly fans the thrilling soccer they have come to love.”

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