Louisville City FC forward Kyle Greig had a long offseason.
Much longer than anticipated, in fact.
Having spent three seasons with Saint Louis FC prior, Greig embedded himself not only as a strong member of a surging squad, but as an integrated member of a close-knit soccer community. His time there was prolific, scoring 20 goals in just over 50 appearances in the Championship having arrived from FC Cincinnati at the end of 2017. However, leaving Saint Louis without a marked destination proved an adverse time—one that stretched Greig and his family on a physical, mental and emotional level.
“It was definitely a challenging time, and to be able to kind of struggle and choose to persevere was big for me and my story,” said Greig. “When I think of adversity, I think of really, a choice. The choice there is obviously one where you can go a couple of ways with it. With adversity, you can kind of face it head-on and you can push through it or you can kind of crumble and let it really consume you.”
When I think of adversity, I think of really, a choice. The choice there is obviously one where you can go a couple of ways with it. With adversity, you can kind of face it head-on and you can push through it or you can kind of crumble and let it really consume you.
Facing adversity without a clear answer, Greig chose to lean into the unknown. Behind the support of his family—notably his wife and two children—, he set a deadline for a potential return all while knowing there would be no other option but to hang his boots up for good should no one come calling.
“I would be waking up in the morning – my workouts were at 9:30 a.m. – and I would some days be driving the 15-minute drive to the facility and being like, ‘what am I doing this for? Teams are six weeks, eight weeks into their preseason… what am I doing?’ And so, those are the type of thoughts that creep into your head and there’s a lot of insecurity with it as well,” he said.
“Obviously, my family was super, super supportive from my immediate family to my extended family, but you have these insecurities where you’re wondering what they are thinking – whether I’m freeloading, just kind of trying to keep this dream alive. Are they thinking I should give it up by now? But, that’s obviously not the type of people that they are. They are immensely supportive, but it’s hard to not let those negative thoughts consume you and creep in.”
Choosing positivity in the face of the challenge, Greig’s support system helped drive him every day, specifically to that training facility where he worked with a trainer in his home in Kansas City, KS.
However, the end date was still established as, in early May, Greig and his wife made the conscious decision that July 5th would see the final dot of sand reach the bottom of the proverbial hourglass of his career. Pushing away in hope for what was to come, Greig and his family made the trip to Saint Louis to do the inevitable – visit close friends, and pack up their house to make the drive back to Kansas City to settle in.
A few days later, the long-awaited call came. Perennial Championship title-contender Louisville City FC needed help for its depleted attack.
“When we gave that up and put the date of July 5th, on May 15th I got a phone call and it was shortly after we had made the decision to give it eight more weeks and then close this chapter in our lives,” he said.
“Fortunately, that call came and again, this is worth the wait to be here in a beautiful stadium and in a great winning culture of the group at this point in my career. I feel like I’m in a place where I can do what I want to do, and that’s win a championship in my career.”
In the blink of an eye, Greig went from ‘on the outside looking in’ to returning to the storage unit for the important items before packing up to drive to his new home in Louisville, KY to make the deal official with LouCity.
“You can imagine how quickly this all happened,” he said. “To really celebrate it, I feel like I didn’t really realize it until after that Saturday game against San Diego [on May 22] and I scored and just that release of emotions – I was very emotional, crying and just thinking six days earlier that my career was potentially over and then coming and being involved and contributing immediately in a really awesome environment was pretty special.”
A goal scored, a dream debut, three points in the bag and a career back on track.
I was very emotional, crying and just thinking six days earlier that my career was potentially over and then coming and being involved and contributing immediately in a really awesome environment was pretty special.
Greig’s legacy in purple was only beginning, too, and he credits the environment he walked into for part of his success.
“The culture here is really good and really well-established,” he said. “There’s a core that returns each and every year, and you can see that there’s that trust. It’s a good place to be. It’s a place where we have the potential to win a championship and I’m glad I’m here.
There have been new landmarks for Greig, too. He recently passed 200 regular-season appearances in the Championship and became the fifth-leading scorer in league history as he reached 60 regular-season goals on July 2. In his ninth professional season, he continues to provide a powerful option to lead the line alongside fellow veterans like Paolo DelPiccolo, Niall McCabe and Brian Ownby.
Now, the focus turns to what’s ahead. A packed schedule for a title-contending squad experiencing injuries that have gone from weekly to seemingly daily takes no pressure off his need to perform. With that, though, comes the support of a young head coach who has faced his own set of challenges as the year has grown.
“We’ve got such a deep squad. [Head Coach] Danny [Cruz] emphasizes all the time that he trusts every single person in the locker room to start a game, to play and contribute and to get the job done,” Greig added. “Knowing everyone’s role and each player knowing that if they stay ready and they’re doing what they need to do on and off the field and in the gym, as a substitute or starting, whatever it may be, it’s going to lead to the greater good for the collective.”
Knowing everyone’s role and each player knowing that if they stay ready and they’re doing what they need to do on and off the field and in the gym, as a substitute or starting, whatever it may be, it’s going to lead to the greater good for the collective.
Greig’s story is far from over, despite what he may have thought at one point not too long ago. Reaching double-digit appearances and tallying five goals to date, his advice to those in challenging situations is simple: choose your mentality.
“There’s a choice on how you approach the challenge that’s in front of you. I think that another thing you have to keep in mind is that you have to be okay with the outcome not going your way, but there is a choice in how you accomplish what you want to each and every day,” he said.
There’s a choice on how you approach the challenge that’s in front of you. I think that another thing you have to keep in mind is that you have to be okay with the outcome not going your way, but there is a choice in how you accomplish what you want to each and every day.
“Sometimes that doesn’t go the way you want it to go and you have to be okay with that, but I think for me and my experience, I was going to have to be okay with stepping away from the game and I was preparing for that as well even with my full focus at that time being to train and being ready for my phone to ring. Making that choice to try as best as you can, knowing it’s not easy to go head on and react positively to the challenges you face.”
No doubt the challenge remains one of the biggest personal and professional mountains he’s had to climb in his career, but one phone call changed everything for Kyle Greig. With his focus concentrated on the next match and a goal to win a league title in November, his story continues.
The No Limitations, Only Opportunities series aims to spotlight members of the USL community who embody perseverance and belief in their potential. USL partner Bellevue University is committed to empowering motivated students to achieve their own personal dream.