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Philadelphia Union gives Sporting Director Ernst Tanner a contract extension

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Tanner signed a new “multi-year” contract

Matt Ralph

Sporting Director Ernst Tanner will continue to play a big role in keeping the Philadelphia Union among Major League Soccer’s elite with the announcement Monday that he has been signed to a “multi-year” contract extension.

Tanner joined the Union as the club’s second-ever Sporting Director in October 2018, succeeding Earnie Stewart after he took a job as the U.S Men’s National Team general manager.

“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,” Philadelphia Union Principal Owner Jay Sugarman stated in a news release. “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’s signature since arriving has been his ability to find gems in the international market without breaking the bank on signings like Kacper Przybylko, Kai Wagner, Jakob Glesnes and Jose Martinez. He’s all added one of the breakout players on this year’s team in the offseason with the signing of 20-year-old Leon Flach and plenty of good things are still expected from Daniel Gazdag and Stuart Findlay.

The sales of Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie to Red Bull Salzburg and KRC Genk respectively have also ushered in a new era for the Union’s academy, which now has a proof of concept to show that it can develop players not only to fill out the first team roster but to generate profits that can be reinvested back into the roster, which is still on the lower end of spending in the league.

“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,” Sugarman stated.

Tanner’s extension follows the announcement of a two-year extension for head coach Jim Curtin and means both will have an opportunity to continue working together to reach the club’s ultimate goal: winning MLS Cup.