A native of Zambia, Charles Renken has followed up his outstanding career as a player by entering coaching. Charles Renken’s soccer journey has taken him from his native Zambia to the U.S., Europe, and Canada.
His passion for the sport drove him to become a star at several levels, and he is now a specialist coach with the MLS expansion franchise St. Louis CITY’s MLS Next Under-16 St. Louis Academy team. The CITY will play its inaugural MLS season in 2023. Renken also assists with the U-17 team.
“I’m very excited for this role. I will be working very hard to bring joy to St. Louis,” he said.
Born Charles Bimbe in Lusaka, Zambia, he moved to Edwardsville, Illinois in 2003 and lived with the Renken family. Two years later, the family adopted him It was not long before international soccer scouts recognized his talent. He was a star in an Under-14 league – at the age of 10.
He played for the national U-14 team at 11 in 2005, and a year later moved up to the U-15 squad.
Renken’s next stop, at just 13 years old, was the internationally acclaimed U.S. Soccer U-17 academy in Bradenton, Florida in 2007. At 14, he was called “U.S. soccer's next rising star.”
The world of professional soccer awaited him, and he signed with Germany’s TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and became a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps academy team.
Knee injuries derailed his meteoric rise through the soccer ranks.
In 2012 he signed with the Portland Timbers and played in 10 reserve league matches. He played for a Swedish team before he signed with Arizona United of the United Soccer League in 2014.
He returned home to St. Louis and signed with the United Soccer League expansion club Saint Louis FC. A year later, Renken signed with the USL’s Seattle Sounders.
Throughout his career, Renken said he thought about becoming a coach in the future. “I went to camps and volunteered. Eventually, the opportunity to help the community came along. I wanted to stay involved in the game,” he said.
As a specialist coach, Renken said he works with players to improve a particular skill. “If they want to get better at something, I take what they have, and make it better,” he said.
Throughout his playing and coaching career, Renken said he appreciated soccer’s outreach. “I would say it has always been a diverse game. With our club, we like to provide a space for all communities to be involved,” he said.
Renken’s U-16 team blanked Shattuck-St. Mary’s 2-0 on Sept. 4. The U-17 squad then dominated Shattuck-St. Mary’s 8-1 to remain undefeated in MLS NEXT action.
The Reid Roundup
Grambling State University held off Tennessee State 16-10 on Sept. 4, spoiling the debut of first-year coach Eddie George…
Former Washington State football player Kassidy Woods has sued coach Nick Rolovich and the university for allegedly violating his civil rights. He claims he was dismissed from the team after complaining about potential exposure to COVID-19 and joining an association of Black student-athletes…
The Greater Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce is endorsing the Music City Baseball ownership group’s attempt to bring an MLB expansion franchise to the city. The team would be named the Nashville Stars, making it the first MLB club named after a Negro League team…
The NFL will allow players to display social justice messages on their helmets and will include "It Takes All of Us” and “End Racism” messages in the end zones of every field. The helmet decals can include “End Racism," “Stop Hate,” “It Takes All of Us,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Inspire Change,” and “Say Their Stories”…
American said Sloane Stephens said she received more than 2,000 hate messages on social media after losing to Germany's Angelique Kerber at the U.S. Open on Sept. 3. They included threats of violence and racist and profane language…
Jason Payne has been promoted to head coach of the East Coast Hockey League’s Cincinnati Cyclones, making the former assistant the only Black head coach in North American men's pro hockey for the 2021-22 season. The NHL’s Buffalo Sabres are the team’s parent franchise…
Last week, Judge Christopher McGraugh ruled against the Los Angeles Rams’ request to have the region’s [a1] relocation lawsuit against the franchise moved to another venue, writing that there is “no evidence that potential jurors in the case have an inherent bias against the league.”