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Pulis Aims to Bring ‘Something Different’ to STLFC

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 11/26/17, 11:57AM EST


Opportunity to ‘put my own stamp on’ team exciting for young Head Coach

Photo courtesy Mark Thor / Orlando City B

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Since his arrival as a player at Orlando City SC in 2012, Anthony Pulis had remained one of the club’s links to its past in the USL as the Lions’ MLS era hit full swing.

But after claiming a USL Cup as a player with the Lions, and leading Orlando City B to the USL Cup Playoffs in his first season as a Head Coach, the challenge of something new was at the forefront of the 33-year-old’s mind when he decided to take up his new position as Saint Louis FC’s Head Coach.

“The opportunity to coach my own team and put my own stamp on it was obviously massive for me,” Pulis told the Orlando Sentinel’s Alicia DelGallo. “They wanted an ambitious, hungry, driven coach who was going to galvanize the whole club. … And I think they wanted somebody to come in with fresh ideas, who was young and enthusiastic and who was going to kind of give them something different.”

After three consecutive seasons without a postseason appearance, Saint Louis’ leadership and fans are certainly hoping the third Head Coach in the club’s history can find the magic that was lacking previously. A bright start to the 2017 season put STLFC in optimistic mood, but from there the club’s inconsistency saw an early elimination from playoff contention.

There were bright points, for sure. The emergence of Seth Rudolph over the course of the season was admirable, and with the potential return of Irvin Herrera for 2018 after his year on loan the club’s attack could get a major boost. After squaring off against Saint Louis twice in the 2017 regular season – where STLFC went 1-0-1 against OCB – Pulis has an idea of what he might have to work with, and where the side could use strengthening.

“We played them twice, saw them in the preseason, and I watched them on tape a number of times” Pulis told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Lyons. “I have a feel for what’s here and there are definitely some pieces we can build around. But we’ll also need to add some pieces to make sure we’re very competitive next season.”

Photo courtesy Mark Thor / Orlando City B

What Saint Louis is hoping most of all is that Pulis can bring the level of consistency that has been absent from its side over the past three seasons. STLFC’s longest undefeated streak in club history is five games (Apr. 2-May 7, 2016), a far cry from the types of runs that Pulis was able to generate in Orlando. A 12-game undefeated streak midway through the 2017 regular season and nine-game streak in the 2016 regular season helped pave the way to success for OCB in the club’s first two seasons.

“To be successful at this level, consistency is a must, and that’s something that intrigued us about Anthony,” STLFC General Manager Jeremy Alumbaugh told Lyons. “He’s an up-and-coming coach who’s very organized, very prepared to help get a team through the ups and downs of a long season.”

For Pulis, the opportunity to offer a middle-ground between the club’s first hire of local coach Dale Schilly and last offseason’s move to appoint high-profile manager Preki is one he hopes pays off for both himself and the club.

As for the conclusion of his time in Orlando, Pulis is grateful to those that brought him to the club like OCSC founder Phil Rawlins and former Head Coach Adrian Heath, but is excited to try and emulate the success he found with the Lions in the USL at Toyota Stadium – Saint Louis.

“Listen, all clubs change,” Pulis told DelGallo. “Yeah, I was part of the old guard, if you like, but I’ve also been part of the new guard. At the end of the day, clubs evolve, and it’s so rare now – I said this to somebody yesterday – it’s so rare you’re at the same club for six years. Hopefully I can be at Saint Louis for six years and have the same kind of success there that we’ve had here.”

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