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STLFC Academy Staff

Blake Decker

Academy Director

Decker joined St. Louis Scott Gallagher Illinois in 2006 where he spent the next 4 years coaching and overseeing the divisions 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.  

License Level:  USSF Academy Director License, A License, National Youth License

Additional Relevant Degrees:  B.A. Secondary Education, M.A. K-12 Education


Luis Swisher

Director of Coaching & U19 Head Coach

Swisher joined Saint Louis FC in 2018 from FC Boulder where he served as the clubs PDL Head Coach as well as a Head Coach in the Development Academy program.  Swisher previously served as a scout both for the United Soccer League (USL) and Premier Development League (PDL) as well as a senior-team scout for the Guatemala National Football Federation.  Swisher had early stints in the Coaching Youth Development and Academy role at DC United and Regional Development School at New York Red Bulls Academy.  He played professionally for 16 years across many first division clubs including seven teams in the Guatemalan National League and also in Europe for Polonia Warszawa in Poland.  Swisher is a Guatemalan international with 40 caps across the U19, U21, U23, and senior team levels. 

As the Head Coach of the STLFC Academy U19 team, he led the club to a third-place finish in the USSDA Playoffs and defeated MLS Academy sides Sporting KC and New England Revolution in 2019.

He is married to Esmarie and has a seven-year-old son named Daniel.


John Roeslein

Head of Scouting

John Roeslein comes to Saint Louis Scott Gallagher from the National Head Scout for Richmond International Academic & Soccer Academy based in Leeds, England. Roeslein oversaw 24 coaches with 12 teams as the Director of Olympic Development Program under the Missouri Youth Soccer Association. He has coached 10 Missouri State Championship teams, 1 Regional Championship team, 1 Super Clubs Regional Championship team, and has won 1 National Championship.

License Level: USSF B License


TIm Kelly

Director of Goalkeeping

A long time fixture of goalkeeping in the area, Kelly was a member of the SLSG Missouri Academy staff since the inception of the US Development Academy League in 2007.  He first joined the club as a youth player in 1994 and after a collegiate career at Saint Louis University, Kelly was signed by the then Kansas City Wizards of MLS where he played one season and then moved to the Arizona Sahuaros of the USL.  In 2001, Kelly returned to SLSG to oversee the development of the club's goalkeepers, many of whom have since moved into the professional ranks including Connor Sparrow (Real Salt Lake), Tomas Gomez (Saint Louis FC), Mark Pais (Toronto FC), Luis Soffner (New England Revolution), Kevin Corby (Charleston Battery), Joe Willis (Houston Dynamo), and Jacob Leeker (Real Monarchs).

License Level:  USSF B License


Nathan Steinmetz

Director of High Performance

Nathan joined the club in 2016 after spending 17 years coaching on the field at various levels including USYS National League and Midwest Regional League.  During that time, Nathan also worked with various sports organizations as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  Most notably, Steinmetz spent five years at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville working with multiple teams in the NCAA Division I Athletics program. While there, he completed his Master’s Degree in Sports Psychology, which gave him a very comprehensive view of performance and allows him to assist and improve players in both the physical and psychological factors associated with high-performance.  

License Level:  USSF National C

Additional Relevant Degrees:  BSEd Exercise Science, K-12 Physical Education & Health, MS Sport Psychology, NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist


Nedim Gracanin

U11-U14 Boys Age Group Director

Nedim joined St. Louis Scott Gallagher in 2013 where he began as a technical trainer in the player development staff. He has been coaching and assisting in the U8-U16 age groups since 2014. Prior to coaching, Nedim played at EuroUS Soccer, WC Arsenal, and SLSG. He attended Harris Stowe State University and played for 3 years before completing his degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Nedim currently lives in Affton, MO. 

 

License Level:  USSF C License

Additional Relevant Degrees: B.S. Physical Education


Michele Niece

Director of Player Welfare & Education

Michele joined SLSG Missouri in 2013 assisting in various administrative capacities within the SLSG Missouri Academy and Girls ECNL programs.  Prior to moving to St. Louis, Michele lived in Texas where she worked with FC Dallas as their Academy Program School Liaison.  A certified teacher and school administrator, she currently serves as the Director of Learning and Innovation for the Kirkwood School District.  Michele brings a unique and holistic perspective drawing on her experiences as a classroom teacher, a school administrator and as a parent of two elite athletes now competing at NCAA level.  Michele serves as a resource for Saint Louis FC Academy players and families in the area of academic support, academic planning, life skill development as well as other areas associated with supporting and developing the person, so that the player can thrive. 

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