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Saint Louis University soccer player Alli Klug is one of 10 finalists for the 2019 Senior CLASS Award in NCAA women’s soccer. The award recognizes candidates who best exemplify the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
Saint Louis University soccer player Alli Klug is one of 10 finalists for the 2019 Senior CLASS Award in NCAA women’s soccer. The award recognizes candidates who best exemplify the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
Photo Credit: Michael Thomas

SLU soccer star Alli Klug balances service, sports, academics

Nominee for soccer’s CLASS award brings Catholic faith to the forefront, too

Saint Louis University’s All-American senior defender Alli Klug goes full force off the soccer field as well.

SLU athletic teams perform extensive community service with the Special Needs Soccer Association, and Klug gives her all with that, connecting with the association players. “You’re really making an impact on these kids’ lives, helping them get out their comfort zone, learning something new and having fun with it,” Klug said.

“I’ve always liked volunteering and doing community service, doing something great for the community you’re representing” she said, regardless of whether it’s required through her high school, Nerinx Hall, her physical therapy program at SLU, her team or on her own. Klug also has worked with Girls on the Run and has taken part each year in SLU’s Relay for Life.

Klug is one of 10 finalists for the 2019 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate women’s soccer. She’s the first player from SLU to make the cut as a finalist. It represents hard work on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Focusing on the total student-athlete, it encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

Klug is a two-time All-American, a two-time Atlantic 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time first-team All-Conference selection. She helped lead the 2018 Billikens to a school-record 18 wins, A-10 regular-season and tournament titles and a berth in the NCAA Championship. This season, the team won the A-10 season again, going 9-0-1 in league play. Klug has been included on the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List in each of the past two seasons.

Her Catholic faith plays a part. “It’s always important to keep your faith in mind and to know that you were given these talents, so why not use them,” she said. “That draws into the service aspect and doing your best on the field with the talents you’re given. It’s also believing in something other than yourself. And that plays a role with a Higher Being and also with your teammates, being selfless.”

With her faith, said, she believes in something she can’t see, which translates to sports such as believing in the possibility of attaining a championship that had been long-awaited.

An exercise science major with concentration in physical therapy, Klug is on track to receive an undergraduate degree in May 2020. She will remain enrolled at SLU for two more years while pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy. Klug has appeared on the A-10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll the past two years and carries a 3.663 cumulative grade point average.

Nerinx Hall prepared her well academically, she said. Her coaches, teammates, classmates and others are supportive of her in balancing her rigorous class schedule and athletics. Communication and organization are a key part.

The Mary Queen of Peace in Webster Groves parishioner played CYC basketball, soccer and volleyball. She enjoys being close to a home-cooked meal and to snuggle with her dogs. Her parents, Paul and Christine Klug, display hospitality by hosting her teammates for meals and activities. “My parents are nice enough to open up their home and make it a second or third home for people who don’t always get to go home for fall break or something,” Klug said.

They’ve hosted Klug’s senior class teammates as well as the entire team. One student stayed at her house for Easter and they went to Mass together.

As a senior, her role includes helping freshmen and transfer students adjust. It takes reaching out off the field and communicating on the field, Klug said. “The whole team has done a fabulous job of welcoming them and bringing them into the culture.”

She attributes SLU’s success to the whole team’s contribution. The younger players have played significant minutes, giving them “an opportunity to see their potential and see what they need to work on,” Klug said. “We want all of us to succeed on the field and off the field. There’s a lot of selflessness on the team.”

SLU head coach Katie Shields called Klug the epitome of a student-athlete. “I have never been more impressed with how an individual’s growth and development improved an organization. She has made an indelible mark on the culture of our program,” Shields said.

Nerinx Hall head coach Brian Haddock had a similar description, calling Klug “the epitome of a teammate who rose to all occasions and made each and every player around her better, both on and off the field. Her character and leadership was key to our teams’ success. Not only was she our hardest worker, but she never wanted to receive any of the credit.”

>> CLASS-y

Saint Louis University’s Alli Klug, one of 10 finalists for the 2019 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate women’s soccer, takes her place on a ballot distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2019 NCAA College Cup in December.

Fans are encouraged to vote for Klug by visiting www.seniorCLASSaward.com. Online voting is available through Nov. 18.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

The award program is designed exclusively for NCAA Division I seniors who are using their complete athletic eligibility, remaining committed to their university and pursuing the many rewards a senior season can bring.

Klug recently was recognized by the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame with the Harry Keough Award along with Will Bruin, a De Smet Jesuit High School grad who starred at Indiana University and now plays professionally with the Seattle Sounders in the MLS.

The award presentation showed how much support soccer has in St. Louis and how excited it is for the new MLS team coming to St. Louis, Klug said.

>> Contributors

Graduates of Catholic high schools in St. Louis have contributed much to Saint Louis University’s outstanding women’s soccer team.

In the team’s 2-1 win vs. George Washington University on Oct. 27 that clinched the regular-season conference crown, Nerinx Hall grad Alli Klug led a stellar defense. Duchesne grad Courtney Reimer’s fourth goal of the season gave the team its initial lead. Goalie Mary Niehaus, a Nerinx Hall grad, made a career high nine saves for the Billikens to extend a 13-game unbeaten streak. The victory was the 61st for the SLU seniors, the most wins for any class in Billiken women’s soccer history.

Others on the roster include Kat Zaber, Visitation Academy; Karsen Kohl, St. Joseph’s Academy; Emma Christanell, Nerinx Hall; Marissa Lesko, Cor Jesu Academy; and Emily Groark, Incarnate Word Academy.

SLU, which registered a second consecutive undefeated A-10 record, is the No. 1 seed for the eight-team A-10 Championship that determines the league’s automatic NCAA Championship qualifier. The Billikens were to host a quarterfinal game Saturday, Nov. 2, at 1 p.m.

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