VANCOUVER, BC – Following an extensive global search, Vancouver Whitecaps FC confirmed on Friday that Axel Schuster has been hired as the club’s sporting director.
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
“We worked with a leading global sports recruitment firm, conducted an extensive search, interviewed numerous highly-qualified candidates, and hired our top choice in Axel,” said Whitecaps FC co-owner Jeff Mallett. “Axel brings great vision and a wealth of knowledge and passion. His addition is a monumental step forward for our club.
“Axel will lead vice-president of soccer operations Greg Anderson, head coach Marc Dos Santos, and the entire technical team towards a clear objective. Everyone is committed to bringing our club to the next level.”
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.
“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,” said Schuster. “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.”
Most recently, Schuster spent three years as the senior director of professional football for FC Schalke 04. During his time with the Royal Blues the first team finished second overall in the 2017-18 Bundesliga season and advanced to the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League. Schuster also spearheaded the 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. During his 22 years at Mainz, Schuster worked closely with the club’s head coaches including Jürgen Klopp, which saw the club earn promotion to the Bundesliga and a spot in the UEFA Cup for the first time in club history. 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.
Originally established in 1974, Vancouver Whitecaps FC are one of the oldest and most decorated professional soccer clubs in North America. Whitecaps FC are fully integrated across Canada, operating soccer development programs nationwide from grassroots to the professional level for both boys and girls, as well as a core commitment to the community. Since 2011, the club has played in Major League Soccer, the top tier of professional soccer in the United States and Canada.