The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is proud to announce that Saint Louis Club Atletico (St. Louis, MO) has joined the league as an expansion team. The club will compete in the South Region’s Heartland Conference.
“We are very excited that the NPSL is coming to St. Louis,” NPSL Chairman Joe Barone commented. “The city has such a long and storied history in the American game and we are happy for the NPSL to be involved in such an exciting venture. This will be a great story for the St. Louis community and the entire region.”
The ownership group of Saint Louis Club Atletico (STLCA) is led by President Jim Krupp, General Manager/Head Coach Ricardo Garza, and Chris Burke.
Krupp is a former collegiate soccer player who is actively involved in coaching teams and administratively organizing and operating a multicultural inner-city soccer non-profit organization.
Garza is the founder of STLCA, which also goes by the nickname of the Bluebirds. He helped launch a collegiate soccer program at Jefferson College in 2005, earning a .900 winning percentage after eight seasons and bringing the program to national recognition each season. Garza has been named Coach of the Year numerous times and won conference, regional, and national championships throughout his career. Garza also co-founded soccer academies in South America and Africa, but he felt it was time for a new platform to be built in his hometown to provide more opportunities for young players committed to pursuing a professional career path. His vision is to help amateur players gain professional identification domestically and internationally and move on from STLCA to pursue their dreams at the next level.
“We appreciate the organization and leadership style of the NPSL,” Garza added. “We want to represent our city in the playoffs and show the league we will be a strong contender for years to come.”
Burke was recently added to the ownership group and will bring a certain value and leadership to the franchise. Through 32 years the Burkes have embraced the entrepreneurial spirit through business ownership and in 2000 a new journey emerged into the world of soccer via their daughters Ava Isabel and Vivian. Today their love of the game will continue with an ownership interest in Saint Louis Club Atletico.
Krupp and Garza consulted with numerous managers, scouts, and coaches from South American countries while they were in Bolivia hosting a College ID camp (collegeidprogram.com). What they concluded on the trip was that American soccer culture needs an upgrade if the country wants to consistently compete well on the global stage. Krupp and Garza want to be a part of the solution to improving the American soccer culture, and they believe that the NPSL is playing a big part in positively contributing to this soccer culture puzzle. Their top priority of launching a new team is to bring high-level soccer back to the city of St. Louis.
“Our venue is in historic soccer-rich South St. Louis at St. Mary’s Stadium,” Garza concluded. “It has a seating capacity of 1,500, a dual-fiber artificial turf playing surface, and locker rooms. We are bringing soccer back to an area filled with tradition.”
More information about the club can be found at www.stlclubatletico.com or by following the club on Instagram (@stlclubatletico), Facebook (@stlclubatletico), and Twitter (@stlclubatletico). An app is also available on iTunes and the Google Play Store by searching for “Stl Club Atletico.”