ST. LOUIS – Years in the making, it’s almost time for St. Louis CITY SC to kick off its inaugural season!

The 2023 MLS season begins Saturday, Feb. 25 with CITY SC visiting Austin FC in Texas for the first regular-season match in franchise history. CITY SC returns to St. Louis next weekend for the home opener on Saturday, March 4.

CITY SC will start the season with 27 active players on the first-team roster. Only eleven players can take the field at one time, and starters will generally see the bulk of playing time.

FOX 2 has collected notes and information about a handful of players you can expect to see competing on the field at CITYPARK this season.

Roman Bürki

Roman Bürki #1

Münsingen, Switzerland

The 32-year-old Swiss goalkeeper comes to CITY SC after seven years with the internationally-renowned Borussia Dortmund club of the German Bundesliga. He made 232 appearances with the team and won a pair of DFB-Pokal (national tournament) trophies during his tenure.

Bürki spent his youth career with FC Münsingen and the BSC Young Boys. He began his senior career bouncing around on loan to other clubs before settling in with Grasshopper Club Zürich in 2013-14 and SC Freiburg in 2014-15. He joined Dortmund the following season.

After signing with St. Louis CITY SC in March 2022, Bürki stayed on with Borussia Dortmund to finish the Bundesliga season. He proved valuable in Dortmund, posting 103 wins, 59 clean sheets and 449 saves prior to his St. Louis arrival.

Joao Klauss

Klauss #9

Criciúma, Brazil
(Formal name: João Klauss de Mello)

One of the early favorites to lead CITY SC in goal-scoring, Klauss is gearing up for his first MLS go-around this year. His tenacity led him to 59 goals over 156 international games from 2016-2021, and he even scored four times in as many games during a conditioning stint with CITY2 last year.

Klauss’ best soccer campaign came during the 2018 Veikkausliiga season in Finland. That season, he led the league with 21 goals in 33 regular season games on a loan. Klauss helped the HJK Football Club advance to the Veikkausliiga Championship and qualify for Champions League playoff action.

His professional soccer journey began at nine years old with Brazlian club Internacional in Porto Alegre. Klauss first joined the European football scene in 2017 with TSC 1899 Hoffenheim II. The striker shuffled around a few European leagues on loan over the next few years before his return Hoffenheim in 2020.

Since then, he earned a promotion to Hoffenheim’s first team, logged four appearances of Bundesliga action and joined top-tier Belgian club Sint-Truidense V.V. on a loan. After his last loan ended, Klauss set his sights on St. Louis.

Now 25 years old, Klauss signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with CITY SC last March that includes an option for an additional year. The half year allowed him to gain some experience with CITY2 last summer and build chemistry with a few others expecting a promotion to CITY SC. Klauss not only prides himself on scoring, but his ability to hold the ball and transition from all parts of the field under pressure.

Eduard Löwen

Eduard Löwen, #10

Idar-Oberstein, Germany

CITY SC signed the German national in June 2022 to one of its three “designated player” slots, meaning his contract is considered outside the club’s salary cap.

Löwen’s began his recorded playing career in 2012 in the Under-19 Bundesliga South/Southwest (youth German league), at just 15 years of age, with his senior career starting with a March 2017 debut with 1.FC Nuremberg. He made it to his country’s top-flight league, the Bundesliga, in 2018, where he amassed 78 club team appearances over five seasons.

Löwen played for Germany’s Under-20 (U20) and Under-21 (U21) national teams, as well as the country’s Olympic team at the recent Tokyo Summer Games. He scored at least one goal at all three international levels.

Niko Gioacchini

Niko Gioacchini #11

Kansas City, Missouri
(Formal name: Nicholas Giocchini)
(Last name pronounced: joe-ah-KEY-nee)

A historic addition in more ways than one, Niko Gioacchini was the first expansion draft selection in St. Louis CITY SC history and projects to be the only Missouri native to crack the Opening Night roster. The 22-year-old joins after one MLS season with Orlando City SC, averaging around 22 minutes and 66% passing clip per game over six contests.

Rasied around Kansas City in his early childhood, Gioacchini moved with his family to Italy at the age of eight, back to the United States at 12, and then to France at the age of 15. In France, he quickly joined Paris FC’s youth academy system, working up to a first-team setting with Caen of France’s Ligue 2 by 2019. Since then, Gioacchini has produced 12 goals and four assists over 88 appearances in professional soccer settings.

Gioacchini earned a role with the U.S. Men’s National Team in 2021 for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Before that, he was also eligible to represent the national teams of Italy and Jamaica. He picked up three goals and two assists in eight games of action with the USMNT and played pivotal minutes en route to a U.S. Gold Cup title.

St. Louis CITY SC inherits Gioacchini’s previous contract from Orlando, which pays him $350,000 per year through 2024 and includes a club option for 2025. Scouts describe Gioacchini as a striker who can utilize all dimensions of the field and play aggressive in the midfield.

Joshua Yaro

Joshua Yaro #15

Defender (Central Defense)
Kumasi, Ghana

Captain of last year’s impressive debut season for CITY2, Joshua Yaro officially climbs the ranks to the top level. He anchored the St. Louis development squad CITY2 to 15 wins and seven clean sheets last year, guiding many youngsters to an MLS Next Pro Cup Final appearance.

The 28-year-old returns to the MLS scene six years since his last appearance in the league with the Philadelphia Union. The second-overall pick of the 2016 MLS Super Draft, Yaro averaged around 73 per minutes per game over 23 appearances, with an 87.6 career MLS passing percentage.

More recently, Yaro has played in the USL Championship league for Bethlehem Steel FC, San Antonio FC and San Diego Loyals. He logged 75 appearances in three seasons and reached playoff quarterfinals twice.

Last winter, Yaro signed a guarantee contract with CITY SC, one that allowed a promotion for the inaugural season after playing for the development squad last year. His best qualities are his endurance, shot-blocking and clearing the ball deep in high-pressure situations.

Kyle Hiebert

Kyle Hiebert #22

La Salle, Manitoba, Canada

The former captain of the Missouri State University men’s soccer team grew up in Manitoba, Canada, and began playing the game as a toddler. He committed to MSU in 2015, but missed the first two seasons of college play due to redshirt designation and injury. Hiebert would start every game for the Bears over the next five seasons.

During Hiebert’s collegiate career, MSU finished first in the Missouri Valley Conference in the 2017, 2019, 2020-21, and 2021 seasons, and the won the conference tournament championship in 2020-21 and 2021.

Hiebert was the first player in MVC history to win three consecutive Defensive Player of the Year awards. He was also a two-time semi-finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, which is awarded to the best male and female collegiate soccer players.

In February 2022, Hiebert joined St. Louis CITY2 for the club’s inaugural 2022 season in MLS Next Pro (part of American soccer’s minor leagues). He was named to the MLS Next Pro Best XI at the end of the season and, in August, signed a contract with St. Louis CITY SC ahead of the club’s inaugural season.

Tim Parker

Tim Parker #26

Center back
Vice Captain
Hicksville, New York

An eight-year MLS veteran, Tim Parker will be essential for leadership and the defensive identity of St. Louis CITY SC. Parker anchored four consecutive playoff-bound teams between the New York Red Bulls and Vancouver Whitecaps FC from 2017-2020, reaching the MLS Cup semifinals in 2018 with New York.

Parker has averaged 26 starts, 89 minutes per game, and a 78.6 passing percentage throughout his MLS career. He helped his past three MLS teams record 64 clean sheets. Parker’s versatility allows him to occasionally factor into scoring, with two goals and four assists.

The 29-year-old earned a brief stint with the U.S. Men’s National Team in 2018, playing two games in the June FIFA International window. Parker’s lengthy experience includes four years at St. John’s University and brief stints in the Premier Development League and National Premier Soccer League with two New York-area clubs. He earned many accolades in college and high school as a longtime captain at both levels.

Parker most recently served as a co-captain with the Houston Dynamo FC before St. Louis acquired him in a trade last November. St. Louis will pay $500,000 to Houston over the next two MLS seasons for Parker’s rights with Houston retaining a portion of his salary.

An added bonus, Parker reunites with St. Louis head coach Bradley Carnell, who worked with him closely in New York and hopes to instill similar schemes on defense. Parker’s primary responsibilities will be forcing turnovers, executing legal tackles and blocking shots.


The photos were provided by the St. Louis CITY SC. All photos are from the team’s media day session.

St. Louis CITY SC recently finalized its opening-night roster. For the complete roster, click here.