Cleveland Crunch Head Coach Louis Kastelic Named M2 Coach of the Year
TAMPA, Florida – The story of Louis Kastelic – the 2021 Major Arena Soccer League 2 Coach of the Year award winner – came full circle this summer when the Cleveland Crunch won the M2 championship in July.
Kastelic’s history with the storied indoor soccer franchise goes back to the team’s halcyon days in the 1990s when it won three National Professional Soccer League championships behind stars like Hector Marinaro, Zoran Karic and goalkeeper Otto Orf.
Kastelic was there to live every memory, as a youngster, since his father served as the team’s equipment manager for all three of those championship seasons. And, after playing for Marinario who was head coach at John Carroll University, he spent an additional seven years with the indoor game’s all time leading scorer as an assistant coach at JCU.
“I fell in love with the indoor game because of my Dad, so it’s very surreal to be in this situation where you’re the championship coach of the team you’ve loved ever since you were a child,” Kastelic said. “It’s an awesome feeling. It’s still sinking in day by day, but it is definitely an honor and a privilege and very humbling.”
A player at John Carroll from 2005-2008, Kastelic accounted for 60 points (16 goals and 28 assists). He made many of his goals count as six of them were game winners, and is among the leading assist getters in the program’s history. He owns a share of the JCU record for most assists in a game with 4, and helped lead the university to a pair of Ohio Athletic Conference championships and two NCAA tournament appearances. He graduated with a degree in business administration.
Indoors, Kastelic suited up for the Cleveland Freeze and Ohio Vortex of the Premier Arena Soccer League, appearing in 25 games while collecting nine goals and eight assists. He spent one year as coach of the PASL’s Cleveland Legacy (2016-17), posting a mark of 5-1-2.
“M2 isn’t only a proving ground for players, but for coaches as well, and there isn’t anyone more deserving than Louis,” M2 commissioner Chris Economides said. “His long and unique relationship with professional indoor soccer in Cleveland makes him a perfect choice for this honor. He knows first-hand what the Crunch brand means in soccer and in northeastern Ohio, and he made sure his team did too. A fourth championship just cements the franchise’s place in the sport.”
Crunch fans will get a chance to celebrate its title on Saturday, August 14 at the Last Stop Willoughby Festival. This event will include a pop-up shop opening at 8 a.m. at the Willoughby outdoor market, followed by a 10 a.m. meet and greet, with Cleveland Crunch players, and a parade that will feature a Cleveland Crunch championship float. The annual parade kicks off at 2 pm from South High School, marching down Euclid Ave and through downtown Willoughby.
The final 2021 M2 Award will come tomorrow when the league’s Most Valuable Player honor is announced.