College Soccer News Annually Seeks To Recognize Assistant Coaches Across The Country Who Are Excelling At Their Work
Third-Year Coach Earns Second Honor
Third-Year Coach Has Helped Xavier Win Back-To-Back Conference Titles
Second-Year Assistant Helped Xavier Recapture A-10 Title
Kris Bertsch joined the men's soccer staff for the 2010 season and has helped the Musketeers win back-to-back Atlantic 10 titles. Bertsch talks about his playing background and the turnaround at Xavier.
Xavier found out it will be returning to the NCAA Tournament to face West Virginia for the second year.
Kris Bertsch enters his sixthseason with the Musketeers in 2015 and was promoted to associate head coach prior to the start of 2012 season. Bertsch, who has twice beennamed one of the Top 15 Division I men's soccer assistant coaches in the nation, has been fundamental to Xavier's turnaround.
"Kris accepting the job at Xavier was a huge milestone in our program's transformation and he has really hit his stride in training the team, developing players, and overseeing a good deal of our recruiting efforts," head coach Andy Fleming said. "He is now aware that the words `head coach' are part of his title and will use this to further fuel the growth of his career and our program."
Part of the 2014 BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year at Xavier, Bertsch has helped guide Xavier to 61 wins -- the largest five-year win total in Xavier history -- and five straight 10-plus win seasons. During Bertsch's time with Musketeer men's soccer, several school records have been set, including goals against average, shutouts, goals allowed, winning percentage, and wins in a single season. In addition, the Musketeers have also made appearances in several national polls, including their first NSCAA Top 25 ranking and Top 10 rankings in 2012 and 2014.
The 2012 team began the season with the second-longest winning streak in the nation and ended the year with 14 wins, making it one of the best seasons in Xavier history. In 2013, Xavier fell one point shy of winning the BIG EAST Championship in the school's first year in the conference. The 2014 team broke the school record for wins (15) and reached the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the first time in school history.
Individually, Xavier players have achieved success under Bertsch's guidance. Three Musketeers have signed contracts with MLS teams since 2013. Forward Luke Spencer was a top 25 draft pick in the 2013 MLS Draft, and defender Nick Hagglund was picked in the top 10 of the 2014 MLS Draft. Additionally, Matt Walker signed a contract with the Columbus Crew in 2014.
Off the field, Xavier men's soccer has excelled under Bertsch as well, earning the highest team grade-point average for a private school in Division I, and the third highest overall.
Bertsch's efforts as an assistant earned him the NSCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Assistant Coach of the Year in 2011. Only eight coaches from all NCAA divisions earn a regional assistant coach award yearly. Also responsible for coordinating recruiting visits, Bertsch has helped land four straight ranked recruiting classes. In addition, the 2012 recruiting class was awarded a four-star ranking by the College Soccer News. Bertsch also oversees and organizes all official and unofficial visits for prospective student-athletes.
Additionally, Bertsch was instrumental in the creation and expansion of the Xooligans, Xavier men's soccer student support group. The Xooligans have helped transform the game day atmosphere at the Xavier Soccer Complex. In two seasons he has worked alongside the Xavier marketing department to achieve success at the gate, which has resulted in numerous attendance records. The Musketeers have set single-season average, total attendance, and single-game records each season.
Among other duties that Bertsch performs are team travel, alumni relations, fundraising, budget planning, game day and team training preparations, video, equipment organization, marketing, and academic monitoring.
Prior to joining the Xavier staff in February 2009, Bertsch was an assistant coach at Syracuse University where he was involved in several facets of the program, including recruiting, scouting, budget, travel and game day operations and promotions. He also organized and directed training sessions and tactical planning throughout the season and oversaw video breakdown of Syracuse's opponents. In addition, he also created the Syracuse soccer student support group known as the "Colvin Street Elite", which in its first year had over 450 members. Thanks in large part to this effort, the Orange set the single season attendance record in 2009 and the Colvin Street Elite were featured in a story on ESPN's "Campus Connection".
Prior to his stint at Syracuse, Bertsch served as the director of soccer operations at the University of Connecticut for four seasons. While at UConn, Bertsch directed and arranged recruiting visits, team travel arrangements, marketing, team promotions and group ticket sales for the top drawing college soccer program in the country.
He was heavily involved in coordinating the nation's largest soccer student support group at UConn called the "Goal Patrol", which had over 900 student members. Bertsch also directed and oversaw the "Meet the Huskies" banquet, which was a major fundraising event for the soccer program. In addition to fundraising, Bertsch assisted with team equipment, team events and day to day logistics.
While at UConn, Bertsch was part of a staff that captured four NCAA Tournament berths advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2005 and 2008 in addition to reaching the Elite Eight in 2007. The Huskies also earned two Big East Regular Season and Tournament titles in both 2005 and 2007.
UConn also climbed the charts in the NCAA polls by achieving a No. 1 or No. 2 national ranking at some point during all four seasons in Storrs. Individually, the Huskies had six BIG EAST Players of the Year, two BIG EAST Rookie of the Year winners, 23 All-BIG EAST selections, a Hermann Trophy winner as the Nation's Top Collegiate Player, 13 MLS Draft picks, six All-Americans during that stint. The Huskies' four year record was an impressive 57-18-11. In total Bertsch has developed 20 players on the professional level.
Bertsch graduated from American University in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He was a four-year starting midfielder at American and twice led the Eagles to the NCAA Division I Tournament with American reaching the Sweet 16 in 2001 before falling to eventual national champion North Carolina in overtime. Bertsch was also honored as an All-Patriot League performer and earned a spot on the Patriot League All-Academic Team.
Bertsch was a two-time US Soccer National Champion with FC Delco and was recognized with the Golden Boot Award, which goes to the national championship's top scorer. FC Delco, the nation's No. 1 Youth Soccer Club, elected him to its hall of fame in 2004. Additionally, Bertsch was a member of the US Olympic Region I and New Jersey State Teams.
Bertsch, a native of Clinton, N.J., played High School soccer at The Pingry School where he finished as the career scoring leader and is a member of the school's athletic Hall of Fame. He is married to Julie Bertsch, an athletic trainer at Xavier. Bertsch holds a USSF `A' License.