ST. LOUIS, Mo. – St. Louis Scott Gallagher (SLSG) announced the departure of Kevin Kalish, Vice-President and Missouri Boys Club Director, as he accepted the men’s soccer head coach position at Saint Louis University.
St. Louis Scott Gallagher has tabbed long-time youth soccer and SLSG administrator Kip Thompson to lead the Missouri Boys division of the club. Additionally, Saint Louis FC Academy Director Blake Decker will serve in a leadership role during the transition. SLSG has begun a comprehensive process to determine any future additions to the organization.
“It cannot be overstated what Kevin Kalish has meant to our organization and soccer in St. Louis in the last 20 years. His passion, drive and vision played a large role in the inception, growth and success of SLSG,” said SLSG President Patrick Barry. “Though we are sad to see him leave, we wish Kevin and his family the very best in this new chapter in his career. We look forward to him bringing great success to Saint Louis University and continuing to move soccer in St. Louis forward.”
“St. Louis Scott Gallagher has been the one constant in my life for the last 30 years as a player and coach,” said Kalish. “This club is in my DNA and will be forever be in my heart. I want to thank Jim Kavanaugh and Tom Strunk for their vision and leadership. I will miss working with the management team and all of the staff who have made me a better person and teammate. Lastly, I want to thank all the players and families that I have been fortunate to build relationships with and share memories with that will last a lifetime.”
“The culture and people at this club is unique and special,” added Kalish. “I look forward to watching them become the best club in the country and partner with them to continue impact the St. Louis community and soccer in St. Louis.”
Kalish was born in Florissant and played for St. Louis Scott Gallagher starting at U10 level and went on to win the U19 National Championship and the U23 National Championship on two occasions. He graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas-Mercy High School where he was a three-time All-State Team selection and member of the 1992-1993 State Championship teams. Kalish played collegiately at Saint Louis University where he was named a First-Team All-American his senior year. He was then drafted by the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer in 1999 before playing professionally for the St. Louis Ambush, Buffalo Blizzard, and Kansas City Attack in the National Professional Soccer League before retiring in 2001 to focus on coaching.
Kalish began his coaching career at Saint Louis University as an assistant during the 1999 season. He would then join the coaching staff at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) as an assistant for the 2000-2007 seasons before becoming the head coach for the 2008-2013 seasons. Kalish and his staff won a number of accolades during his time at SIUE, including being named the MVC Coaching Staff of the Year & NSCAA Midwest Coach of the Year in 2012. He resigned his position at SIUE in 2014 to join the SLSG management staff full-time. Over the past four years, Kalish was instrumental in the creation of the Saint Louis FC Academy and currently coaches the Saint Louis FC Academy U19 team. As the Missouri Boys Club Director, Kalish oversaw player development, club programming, recruitment of players, and curriculum development.
“We are very fortunate to have an extremely talented staff – among the best in the country,” added Barry. “This change will open pathways for our existing staff and bring new, fresh perspectives into the organization. We continue to work toward realizing our mission: To build the best club in the country. A club that develops its players on and off the field and positively impacts our community.”
Kip Thompson has been with Scott Gallagher since 1982 as a player and since 1999 as a coach. He currently oversees the SLSG West division based in Cottleville, MO and also coordinates the Upper90 and Living Legacy initiatives within SLSG. Thompson has been working with the MO Boys division for over 16 years and is looking forward to returning to oversee the division.
“I came to the club because of Kevin,” said Thompson. “I was attracted by his drive and passion and I believe Kevin epitomized the mission statement before we even had one. That being said, even when he is gone it will always be our objective to be the best club in the country.”
Blake Decker joined SLSG Illinois in 2006 where he spent the next four years coaching and overseeing the Pre-Academy program. A former high school teacher, Decker left the classroom in 2010 to join the club on a full-time basis. During that time, he served as an assistant coach in the first and only season of expansion side AC Saint Louis in the NASL as well as led two SLSG Illinois teams to National Championships in US Club competition in 2011 and 2013. In 2014, Decker was named Director of Coaching and Academy Director for the SLSG Illinois program. During his tenure as Academy Director, the program was recognized by US Soccer as “Most Improved Academy” at the conclusion on the 2015 season and received the “Community Award” on two occasions for work done to support grassroots community based soccer organizations in the Southern Illinois region. Decker currently serves as the STLFC Academy Director and coaches the STLFC Academy U15 team.
"We are extremely excited for both Kevin and his family as well as the overall St. Louis soccer community,” said Decker. “While we are sorry to see Kevin moving on from the organization, ambitious and talented people like Kevin are always going to push themselves to grow. He embodies each of our club’s five core values, but perhaps most pertinent now is the value of tradition. I can assure you that we, as an organization, will take on this responsibility with the same vigor, dedication and selflessness shown by Kevin during his time in service to this club and community."