The National Premier Soccer League announced Wednesday that Saint Louis Club Atletico has joined the league as an expansion team.

The club will compete in the South Region’s Heartland Conference.

“We are very excited that the NPSL is coming to St. Louis,” NPSL chairman Joe Barone said. “The city has such a long and storied history in the American game and we are happy for the NPSL to be involved in such an exciting venture. This will be a great story for the St. Louis community and the entire region.”

The ownership group of Saint Louis Club Atletico is led by president Jim Krupp, general manager-head coach Ricardo Garza and Chris Burke.

Krupp is a former collegiate soccer player coaches teams and organizes and operates a multicultural inner-city soccer non-profit organization.

Garza is the founder of STLCA, which also goes by the nickname of the Bluebirds. He helped launch a collegiate soccer program at Jefferson College in 2005, earning a .900 winning percentage after eight seasons and bringing the program to national recognition each season.

He has been named coach of the year several times and won conference, regional and national championships throughout his career. Garza also co-founded soccer academies in South America and Africa, but he felt it was time for a new platform to be built in his hometown to provide more opportunities for young players committed to pursuing a professional career path.

“We appreciate the organization and leadership style of the NPSL,” Garza said. “We want to represent our city in the playoffs and show the league we will be a strong contender for years to come.”

Burke was recently added to the ownership group and will bring a certain value and leadership to the franchise. Through 32 years the Burke family embraced the entrepreneurial spirit through business ownership. In 2000 a new journey emerged into the world of soccer through their daughters Ava Isabel and Vivian.

The team will play at St. Mary’s Stadium in south St. Louis. The facility has a seating capacity of 1,500 and an artificial turf playing surface.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at