Ernst Tanner - Sporting Director

Ernst Tanner officially became the Union's second-ever Sporting Director in October of 2018. Tanner is a native of Traunstein, Germany and comes to Philadelphia following 24 years of previous technical experience with three European clubs: TSV 1860 Munich, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Red Bull Salzburg. As the Union’s Sporting Director, Tanner oversees and guides all Union technical and soccer-related decisions, working closely with the Union First Team, Union II, and the Union Academy. In 2022, Tanner was named 2022 MLS Sporting Executive of the Year for the first time in his career.

Tanner is well respected in the sport for his development, methodology, scouting and talent identification expertise, having played a key role in the discovery and/or development of some of the top professional talent playing in Europe today, including: Roberto Firmino, Kevin Volland, Sven Bender, Lars Bender, Niklas Süle, Sebastian Rudy, David Alaba, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Duje Caleta-Car and Sadio Mane. His background includes time with the progressive Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, known as one of the best academies in Germany, and more recently over the past six years, the oversight of the highly successful and innovative Red Bull Salzburg academy, which captured the prestigious UEFA Youth League championship in 2016-17.

Tanner most recently worked as the Academy and Youth Football Head at RB Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga, a position he held from 2012-18. Over his six seasons with Salzburg, the club’s First Team won the Austrian Bundesliga five times, in each of the last five years, finishing as runners-up in his first season (2012-13).