ST. LOUIS - Saint Louis University head women's soccer coach Kat Mertz has announced the hiring of longtime Carmel (Ind.) United Soccer Club staff member Ralph Richards as an assistant coach.
"I am excited to complete our staff by hiring Ralph Richards," Mertz said. "Ralph is well-respected by his peers in the soccer community and by his former players at Carmel United Soccer Club. He brings to our program a wealth of knowledge and great experience in building competitive, winning teams.
"My goal was to assemble a quality staff, and by hiring Ralph Richards and Katie Shields, I have achieved that and more," Mertz said. "They have proven to be successful coaches, they bring a competitive spirit to Saint Louis women's soccer, and they share my passion to develop this program into a national contender. I believe we have a fantastic staff that will bring experience and passion to our team and to the Billiken athletic department family."
"I have always wanted to coach at the collegiate level, and when a position became available at SLU, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to further my coaching career," Richards said. "Saint Louis University values itself on its rich traditions and strong heritage, and it strives for success both on and off the field. Under the guidance of coach Mertz, not only can I continue to develop as a coach, but I also can help the Billiken program grow and excel in those traditional ways of excellence and success."
Richards, who holds a United States Soccer Federation National "A" coaching license, began his affiliation with Carmel United in 2001. Most recently, he served as girls' director of coaching and guided three teams in the Elite Clubs National League. Richards also spent time as Carmel United's senior girls' technical director of coaching and junior girls' director of coaching. In addition, he has been tournament director of the Crossroads of America College Showcase since 2010.
Richards coached Carmel United's U17 94 Elite and U16 95 Elite teams to ECNL national B championships in 2011, and he led the club's U13 95 Elite squad to the 2008 United States Youth Soccer Association regional crown. He guided 10 Carmel teams to USYSA Indiana state titles and was named 2008 Girls' Coach of the Year by the Indiana Youth Soccer Association.
Richards' coaching experience also includes a stint as director and coach of Indiana United of the Women's Premier Soccer League, as well as assignments with the Region II ODP and the U.S. Club Soccer id2 staffs. He also is a certified personal trainer and the owner of Goal 2 Goal Inc., a personal fitness and health training facility in Carmel.
A 2002 cum laude graduate of the University of Indianapolis with a B.S. in exercise science and physical education, Richards enjoyed a successful collegiate playing career. He earned an All-Region first-team nod as a senior and was a second-team choice as a sophomore and junior. He garnered three All-Great Lakes Valley Conference selections, making the first team as a junior and senior and the second unit as a sophomore. Richards, a three-time team captain, was named GLVC men's soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year as a junior and was a four-time Academic All-Conference honoree.As captain of the Indiana State Select team in 2000-01, Richards collected Most Valuable Player accolades at the regional tournament. He played professionally for two seasons with the West Michigan Edge of the Premier Development League.