St. Louis City SC’s inaugural Major League Soccer season isn’t until 2023, but it’s already working to make an impact in the community.
The Catholic community has long been associated with soccer, from its beginnings in the United States and growth throughout the country. The Catholic Youth Apostolate’s CYC sports program, high school programs and Saint Louis University continue to be important soccer centers.
Tim Twellman, a St. Clare of Assisi parishioner, is one of three newly named sporting community relations consultants assisting St. Louis City Sporting Director Lutz Pfannenstiel with the club’s on-field operations and developing its youth academy.
He’ll help establish relationships with soccer organizations throughout the region and scout and analyze local talent across all levels.
Twellman is a St. Louis native who attended Saint Louis University High School and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. He played professionally in both the North American Soccer League and Major Indoor Soccer League. He is the father of former U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team forward and current ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman. Another son, James, and daughter, Alexandra, played Division 1 college soccer.
Tim Twellman continues to serve as the varsity head coach at Villa Duchesne High School and the director of Twellman Soccer Academy.
Twellman said the pro soccer team’s youth academy aims to help talented players establish a path to becoming professionals. “It’s something that’s never been in our city. It’s my role to help identify players and have a say in how that will be run,” he said.
The CYC oversees thousands of children learning to play the game, and the new MLS franchise also will have programs to train CYC and other coaches. “With the professional coaches that are being brought in to St. Louis City, it will be a coaching academy per se, helping coaches develop themselves too so they can make better players,” Twellman said.
He praised the coaches in CYC and elsewhere who’ve played the game and give back to the community as volunteers with recreational-type players. “We just want to give them all the tools necessary so they can do a better job,” he said.
Twellman said it’s important for programs such as the CYC to give everyone an opportunity to play so later they’ll go to a St. Louis City SC game and understand the game better and love it. Some players will move on and eventually play for the academy.
St. Louis City SC also will work with various other communities in St. Louis, including the immigrant/refugee children that are part of New Dimensions Soccer co-founded by a fellow Catholic soccer guru, Tom Michler. “We will give them the same opportunities as everyone else,” Twellman said, adding that the St. Louis City FC program is offered at no cost to its players.
Twellman said his spiritual life is important to him and in his work he carries that with him wherever he goes. “It’s part of every soccer setting I’m in.”
Besides recreational soccer programs, the club soccer program in St. Louis still is and important aspect for developing players, Twellman explained.
He’s a busy guy, but said it’s “everything I love. It’s not work.”
The St. Louis soccer community is lucky to have people such as Twellman at the forefront.
Kenny is a staff writer for the St. Louis Review and a parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi in Oakville.