Kris Bertsch appointed to Lead Men’s Soccer Program

January 12, 2023

Jason Coomer, vice president of intercollegiate athletics, introduced the new head coach of the men’s soccer team, Kris Bertsch.


“I want to express my gratitude to President Dr. John Porter, Lindenwood University, Jason Coomer, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Director, and Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance Anna Girdwood. And the entire search committee said Bertsch for their confidence in me as their new men’s soccer coach. It’s an honor to take over as the next men’s soccer program director and an excellent time to be engaged with Lindenwood Athletics. Building a championship culture of excellence on the playing field, in the classroom, and the community will be exciting to work on with the whole university and athletics department.”


After serving as the top assistant coach for five seasons at Saint Louis University, where the Billikens amassed a commendable 53-22-14 record, Bertsch joins the Lindenwood staff. Four different times, Bertsch has been named among the top assistant coaches in the country. Bertsch played a significant role on the team that transformed the Billiken program into a national force while he was an employee at SLU. In 2021 and 2022, Saint Louis won back-to-back regular-season and tournament titles in the Atlantic 10 Conference, which led to two consecutive appearances in the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship. The United Soccer Coaches named Bertsch and the SLU staff the NCAA Division I Southeast Region Staff of the Year in 2022.


For our men’s soccer program, department, and organization, today is a momentous day, according to Coomer. “Throughout his career, Coach Bertsch has proven his capacity to help players grow both on and off the field. With Kris in charge; we are incredibly optimistic about the direction of our program.”


Bertsch assisted the Billikens in 2021 in obtaining a No. SLU had its longest run since 2003, reaching the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship, finishing the regular season unbeaten, and holding the No. 2 national ranking at the time. The Billikens finished the year with a record of 16-1-4 and three reliable sources, including a No. 5. Top-Drawer Soccer rating. SLU reloaded and successfully defended its A-10 regular season and tournament championships after eight players signed professional contracts. SLU entered the NCAA Tournament’s second round after finishing the season ranked No. 25 in the polls.


Bertsch was the head coach of 34 all-conference picks, including the 2021 and 2022 A-10 Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year during his five seasons at SLU. Two players have received All-American recognition, bringing the total number of all-region honorees to 15. Bertsch coached six players in 2021, including three who received MLS Generation Adidas contracts and four who were selected in the first round. This is a remarkable number. Since the 2019 season, 17 Billikens have signed professional soccer contracts. Three of the top 25 recruiting classes the program attracted with Bertsch’s assistance were in the top ten. In. 2023, Bertsch and the SLU staff were awarded the No. 1 best recruiting class in the country.


Bertsch, who joined Atlanta United FC in the summer of 2016, played a crucial role in the academy staff for two years. With the aid of on-field training, the academy hoped to assist in establishing professional routes to MLS. Atlanta United won the US Soccer Developmental Academy National Championship in its first season. Atlanta United’s first team won the MLS Cup in the club’s second season, finishing the 2018 campaign as champions; Bertsch helped more than 25 Atlanta United players develop and earn invitations to the youth national teams.


National powerhouses Louisville, Xavier, Syracuse, and UConn have all employed Bertsch as their head coach during his time in the collegiate ranks. He has helped more than 60 collegiate athletes progress to the professional ranks over his more than 20 years of combined coaching and playing experience in colleges. Bertsch has participated in 12 NCAA Tournament teams as a student-athlete and coach, making it at least as far as the second round nine times, the round of 16 six times, and the NCAA Elite Eight twice.


At American University, Bertsch started as a midfielder for four years and was named to the conference’s first team. Bertsch guided the Eagles to two NCAA Tournament appearances, including the Patriot League Championship and NCAA Third Round. 2003 saw him earn a marketing degree from America.


Nationally, it is well known that St. both Charles and St. Louis neighborhood has a lengthy history, said Coomer. “There is no doubt that Lindenwood is positioned to be a significant player in the Division I soccer discussion. It is vitally important for our men’s soccer team to offer chances for local soccer supporters to participate in the thrill of competing at the highest level of NCAA Soccer. The announcement made today is a significant step in that direction. As Lindenwood men’s soccer enters a new era under Coach Bertsch, we are excited to welcome back alumni and soccer fans of all ages to Hunter Stadium.”


Lindenwood’s vision for its men’s soccer team “aligned very clearly with my views of developing champion people within a championship program,” according to Bertsch. “Lindenwood has the potential to compete for championships frequently and graduate successful young men simultaneously. I’m driven to create a program that inspires a sense of pride and enthusiasm among the alumni, the university, and the local community.”


“I am thrilled to have met, mentored, and worked alongside so many amazing individuals along the journey that I would be remiss to attempt to mention everyone, but you are greatly appreciated,” Bertsch continued. Additionally, I’d like to express my gratitude to Kevin Kalish personally. He has been a wonderful friend and mentor, and I appreciate his ongoing support for my family and me as we embark on this fantastic coaching journey. Thanks to my family, especially my wife Julie and my three kids, Kaden, Kenzie, and Kora, my biggest fans and supporters. They have helped me along the way at every turn, and they are all eager to see Lindenwood soccer flourish.”

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