Updated: Jan 7, 2021
Arinze ‘Ace’ Ezirike Named JOY Saint Louis Park NPSL Expansion Soccer Team Head Coach and Technical Director
Saint Louis Park, MN - Arinze ‘Ace’ Ezirike is named the technical director and head coach for the Joy Saint Louis Park National Premier League Soccer (NPLS) expansion team. Ezirike’s soccer philosophy is that vision, passion, and play are the best teachers of the game. “You need to see it and feel it to do it. Cherish the soccer ball, get everyone involved. Pick your moments of creativity and enjoy your game. If you can do that, you have created Futbol!” said Ezirike.
“As we formed Joy SLP, we always had Ace in mind as the first choice for the head coach. We wanted someone who understood the methodology that grew these players and could bring the principles from theory to practice. Ace is an extremely well-respected player and coach in Minnesota, but above all else, a real role model that our players could look up to as a person. I can’t think of anyone more qualified to coach Joy SLP,” said Ted Kroeten, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Joy of the People.
Ezirike brings over 13 years of soccer experience to his new position at Joy SLP, having coached with Saint Paul Blackhawks for five years, Mpls United for ten years, and Joy of the People for nine years. He was named MSHSL 6AA assistant coach of the year in 2015 and 2020 at Mpls South High School.
As a player, Ezirike played for the NPSL semi-pro team, Minnesota Twinstar, for Southern New Hampshire University, where he was a 2-time NE-10 player of the week after transferring from NIACC team North Iowa Community College, where he was first-team All-Region 11 and second-team All-Region 11. Ezirike credits his youth coach and mentor, Ted Kroeten, for his soccer career as a player and coach. “Ted gave me a chance at 16, and I fell in love with soccer, ” said Ezirike.
Joy Athletic is the umbrella organization for both the NPSL soccer team and the NFSL futsal team, and its mission is to place beauty over winning. The vision is to provide a venue for some of the talent developed in the free play youth system at Joy of the People soccer club and change the way people think about talent development.
Joy SLP will be rostered primarily by homegrown players, many of them from St. Louis Park and other local twin cities areas. Joy SLP has recently announced the signing of local homegrown players to the NPSL roster that includes, Emmanuel Iwe, Aden Cavanaugh, Eric Lagos, Marco Corona-Duran, Bennett Koume, Noah Kantorowiz, and Mika Folstad.