16.11.2022Bayer 04

From Bayer 04 Youth teams to St. Louis: Max Schneider interview

After coming through the ranks at the Kurtekotten Performance Centre and the first training sessions with the Werkself. including appearances in friendly matches, Max Schneider decided to move to the USA after his Abitur exams in 2019 to follow his ambitions as a professional footballer as well as continuing to study psychology. After three successful years in the college team at Marshall University (West Virginia) the 22-year-old joined St Louis CITY SC in the spring of 2022. Schneider is currently playing for the reserves in the MLS Next Pro league.

Ahead of the friendly against Bayer 04, Max Schneider talked to about his connection to St. Louis, sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel, the differences between German and American football culture and the reason he is currently in Leverkusen and not St. Louis.

Max, you've been in St Louis since February of this year. How did your move to St. Louis CITY SC come about?

Schneider: I'd ended my third season in college football and wanted to take the next step – my target was professional football. At that time I was in contact with Lutz Pfannenstiel (sporting director at St. Louis CITY SC, ed.). He gave me the chance to play for the St. Louis MLS Next Pro team. I played my first season up to a few weeks ago and it was extremely successful for me. I'm now looking forward with anticipation to the new season.

Let's go back to your time in youth football. You came through the youth teams at Bayer 04. You know both German and American football culture. What similarities and differences have you detected?

Schneider: Everything was very professional in the Leverkusen youth set-up and it's similar here in St. Louis. Of course, the pressure on me is bigger here – because I'm now playing in professional football rather than youth football. So it's all about good results. In Germany there is big pressure to perform in general. That's the same here in the USA although it's coupled with a bigger focus on the development of the individual player. I really like that.

How did St. Louis CITY SC manage to convince experienced former Bundesliga players like Roman Bürki to sign for the club?

Schneider: On the one hand, that's primarily down to Lutz Pfannenstiel who has done an excellent job as sporting director here. On the other, there is the American lifestyle. Signings like Roman Bürki and Eduard Löwen show the MLS is on the right track to become one of the top leagues in the world. And St. Louis can play an important role with their philosophy. There are very interesting years ahead of us.


What's football culture like here in St. Louis County?

Schneider: The football culture here is really big. That is also related to the fact that universities here, such as St Louis University, have outstanding soccer sections. Our matches in the MLS Next Pro mostly attract crowds of over 6,000. You could see that the people here in the city are really happy about the MLS team.

You're not currently in St. Louis but instead in Germany. To be more exact in Leverkusen. Why's that?

Schneider: I recently broke my right foot unfortunately. I had the same injury three years ago in the left foot so it's nothing new for me. Rehab went very well for me back then and now it's all going very well again so far. I'm very grateful to Bayer 04 for the opportunity to do my rehab here again. The operation was four weeks ago and in two weeks I will begin rehab training as it stands. I hope to be able to be back for the start of the pre-season of the MLS on 6 January.

Will you watch the game between St. Louis and Bayer 04?

Schneider: I've got my rehab on Thursday afternoon so I've got time to have a lie-in. (He laughs) So, I'll be able to watch the match in the night.

Max Schneider profile:

Max Schneider was born in Cologne on 28 July 2000. The midfielder had his first contact with Bayer 04 with his move to the U13s. He then went on to play for all the youth teams at Leverkusen with the exception of the U16s. In the summer of 2019, the son of the former second division player and now Bayer 04 physio Hansjörg Schneider decided to move to the USA after his Abitur exams to pursue his ambitions to be a professional footballer as well as continue his psychology studies. Schneider played for the Marshall Thundering Herds for two and a half years and he won the national college championship with his university team. Schneider joined St. Louis CITY Soccer Club in February of this year and he went on to start in nearly every game in the MLS Next Pro team.

Related News