The Louisville Lightning entered a new era of professional soccer in the city on June 13, introducing Kyriakos “Kyt” Selaidopoulos as the third coach in franchise history. He becomes the first full-time head coach, but also may be a player/coach, taking over for Ted Nichols, who moves to a management role for the upcoming season. It’s Selaidopoulos’ first professional coaching position following an award-laden career as a player.
The hiring signals the club’s attempt to become a big player in professional soccer. Selaidopoulos is the first coach with no prior connections to the club. He is 33 and has a three-year contract.
What Selaidopoulos lacks in community ties are made up by his soccer pedigree. His 13-year playing career ended this spring with an MISL National Championship as a member of the Milwaukee Wave. He was previously a team captain with the Detroit Ignition, and was one of the top scorers in the league for five years. The Montreal native also has international experience with the Canadian National Futsal Team and Canadian Beach Soccer Teams.
“We need a face on this franchise,” the coach said. “I’m going to get to know Louisville quickly, because you are going to see me anywhere and everywhere this year selling this franchise.
“We have a lot of work to do to unite all of the clubs and soccer teams in this city, to get them excited about where soccer in Louisville can go,” he said.
The Lightning’s refocus apparently starts at the top, as club management talked as much about marketing and growing the sport as they did winning championships. It’s a challenge indeed, but Louisville’s reputation as a sports town is well-deserved. The attendance and support across town at the University of Louisville men’s soccer games prove that Louisville is ready to embrace the sport on a higher level.
“I was a hard worker; never a superstar,” Selaidopoulos said. “I was more of a team guy, and my strength as a team captain was getting other players to listen. As a coach, my job is to get 18-20 guys to buy into what we have and believe in what we are doing,” he said.
The biggest task for Selaidopoulos may not be selling his coaching style to the team, but selling his franchise to Louisville.
The Lightning play at Mockingbird Valley Soccer Club. The season starts in November.
Category: Louisville Lightning