City’s Tomas Ostrak is adapting to America, on and off the football pitch | Saint-Louis CITY SC

A minute after coming halfway through the second half of the St. Louis City2 game on Sunday, midfielder Tomas Ostrak received a pass from teammate Klauss at the top of the penalty area and kicked the ball for the first goal by one of City’s international squad players. of players.

“It was beautiful,” Ostrak said. “It was exciting to score that first goal and I’m happy it happened so quickly.”

From Ostrak’s point of view, the objective was quite simple. Klauss did all the hard work and then set it up with a perfect pass for Ostrak to drive into the bottom left corner of the goal.

If only everything were that simple. Ostrak, a Czech who played in Germany, has been in Saint-Louis for a month and although he feels comfortable here, he also finds it complicated.

“I think it’s a bit more complicated than in Europe,” he said on Friday, sitting at a picnic table under a tree outside City2’s temporary home at the premises of Lou Fusz at Earth City. “Like, I need a social security number, I need a car, the car is so hard to get, bank accounts. All like that. Also like visa, I should. I works here for the St. Louis as a professional player, so there’s lots and lots to do, but now I’m like here for three months to…” Here he pulls out his phone to translate something into English. “… to get used to. So that’s the point here.

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It was one of sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel’s plans with the first signings of his international players, to bring them to America early in the process and settle in. Find the car and place to live and get the paperwork sorted. And also for new faces – and everyone will be a new face – to play and practice together. By the time the players return home for the holidays, to reconnect for training camp in January, they will have been training together for three months.

“Of course, because now I also have the apartment and I still have to work on my apartment to feel more comfortable,” Ostrak said. “More things to buy and it takes time and I think these three months is really good to get used to this place and everything around it with America because it’s another country…. All completely new.

Ostrak has played 42 minutes so far across two games as City2 have been cautious with their minutes. It’s still pre-season for him, and he knows he’s not ready for 90 minutes, although 45 minutes might not be out of the question. City2 coach John Hackworth was mum on the team’s plans for their Sunday game in San Jose, where they could possibly clinch a playoff spot.

“He’s a good player,” Hackworth said. “Like, it’s quality. As a coach, you bring a player like that on the pitch in the second half, it’s nice. … With all the guys who are here and getting them through this kind of pre-season acclimatized to our community, to our club, to our principles of play, getting him more and more minutes is a goal… but it’s a goal. Sure, that’s what we want to try to keep doing.

Ostrak has already played more minutes in two games with City2 than he did all of last season with his German club FC Cologne, where he played just five Bundesliga games and played only 31 minutes. It’s one of the things that made him come to America.

“I just want to play and in my last team where I played it was a bit difficult and I wanted to make new decisions and a new goal,” he said. “And I think (City manager) Bradley Carnell can help me and everyone at this club can help me become a better player. … I spoke with the Lutzes and Bradley and they introduced this club and the project that they want to do and yes, it was really interesting. And I want to be part of this project and because MLS is improving year by year. And it’s a league really interesting, good league, and I felt like it was a good choice for me to play there and improve in this league.

City acquire midfielder from Austin after seasonSt. Louis City added another player for its inaugural season, though an announcement isn’t expected for a while. City have reached an agreement to acquire midfielder Jared Stroud from Major League Soccer’s Austin FC after the end of the current season. The deal was originally reported by the website transfermarkt.us and was confirmed by the Post-Dispatch.

Stroud is a winger who was part of the New York Red Bulls organization when Carnell was there. He was named to the USL Championships All-League First Team in 2019 with Red Bulls II and started 11 games with Red Bulls in 2020. He joined Austin in 2021, starting 13 games and appearing in 22, with one goal and four assists. He hasn’t played much this season, playing just 41 minutes in five games.

Stroud, 26, is a native of New Jersey, which would make him the first American player to join the team, and he played college football at Cornell.

Heard goes to the American camp

City academy player Aaron Heard has been called up for the United States Under-17 camp which started Thursday in Chula Vista, Calif., and will continue until Wednesday. Heard, of Fairfax, Va., has played six games with City2 this season.

“It’s another big story for us, another call-up for Aaron,” Hackworth said. “We’re just proud of him and hope he continues to enjoy it to the fullest.”


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