VANCOUVER, BC – Whitecaps FC confirmed on Tuesday that chief executive officer and sporting director Axel Schuster has agreed to a four-year contract extension.
“Since arriving in Vancouver three years ago, Axel has embraced our city, and we are proud to continue partnering to deliver on our commitment in building our club, the community in which we serve, and our nationwide soccer programs from first kick to first team,” said Jeff Mallett, co-owner & executive chair. “As a result of Axel’s leadership, we are on the right path for success to finish strong this year and prepare for the 2023 Concacaf Champions League, our 50th anniversary in 2024, as well as the FIFA Men’s World Cup coming to Vancouver in 2026.”
During his first three years at the helm of Whitecaps FC, Schuster has overseen several significant milestones and club successes:
- Since 2020, BC Place home record of 21W-7L-5D across all competitions
- Won the 2022 Canadian Championship, in front of the largest crowd at BC Place in the tournament’s history, and qualified for the 2023 Concacaf Champions League
- Qualified for 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs, despite playing most of the season based in Utah
- Temporarily relocated first team to Florida and Oregon in 2020, as well as Utah in 2021 to continue MLS regular season play
- Inaugural members of League1 BC and winning the women’s division, re-launched second team joining MLS NEXT Pro
- Expanded the club’s coast to coast to coast soccer programs in partnership with provincial and national soccer associations
- Organizational commitment to be leaders in Safe Sport and have continued to improve club policies and practices, including hiring a full-time director of safe sport and education
- Revamped recruitment department and scouting network
- New community and social impact department instrumental in building and strengthening the club’s relationships in Metro Vancouver and across the province
“I am very honoured and grateful to continue to work with all of the talented and passionate people we have at our club,” add Schuster. “Since arriving in Vancouver three years ago, we have talked a lot about development and although the impact of the pandemic has made some areas more complicated, we have never stopped moving forward and putting the bar higher every year. Our mission is to build something great on and off the pitch and I am more than ready to continue to lead this process and push us all to compete for the highest goals in our competitions.”
Working under Schuster to lead the soccer departments are Vanni Sartini, first team head coach, Nikos Overheul, director of player recruitment, Quinn Thompson, director of player personnel, Dr. Ben Sporer, vice president of performance strategy, research & innovation, Dave Irvine, director of men’s soccer development and a soon to be announced general manager of women’s soccer.
The club’s front office is led by Schuster and includes Manav Deol, general counsel, Linda Gao, senior financial advisor, and Erin Mathany, senior vice president, marketing. The senior leadership team will be expanded to include an experienced chief commercial officer, who will guide the club’s growing business partnerships. For more information on the club’s structure, visit whitecapsfc.com/club/staff.
Schuster, a native of Cologne, Germany, original joined Whitecaps FC in November 2019 following over two decades working in Germany with Bundesliga clubs 1. FSV Mainz 05 and FC Schalke 04.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
The Vancouver Whitecaps FC purpose is to unite and inspire its communities. Whitecaps FC is one of the longest standing professional soccer clubs in North America, having originally been founded in 1974. Since 2011, the club has played in Major League Soccer, the top tier of professional soccer in the United States and Canada. Whitecaps FC are a fully integrated club, housing one of the most unique soccer development programs in North America, starting from grassroots and including professional development programs for both boys and girls, with a goal to provide a safe and welcoming environment so that all participants can thrive and achieve their potential. For more information, visit whitecapsfc.com.