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Academy spotlight: Kimberling’s unforgettable Dallas Cup goal

By By Chris Mattingly, 05/01/23, 2:00PM EDT


The South Oldham product scored an important equalizer in the victory.

Kyle Kimberling figures he’ll always remember the moment he got the Louisville City FC Academy on the board in last month’s Dallas Cup 19U final.

“My coach, Luke Spencer, said at halftime that big-time games call for big-time players, and I took that to heart,” Kimberling said. “I would do everything possible to help my team win the cup.”

Kimberling rocketed a shot from distance to equalize in the 53rd minute of the prestigious Easter weekend tournament. Later, Cole Varela delivered the game winner, making the LouCity Academy the first club from Kentucky to win a division of the Dallas Cup.

“I remember the cross coming in, Colin Elder setting me perfectly and my body took over,” Kimberling said of his strike. “I focused on my technique hitting the ball and it paid off. It is a huge moment that we will cherish forever.”

A South Oldham star committed to play at Eastern Illinois University, Kimberling has seen his stock rise as a member of the LouCity Academy. He plays for a U-19 group that’s producing a number of college-bound players and has three of its standouts — Issac Cano, Colin Elder and Travis Smith — rostered with the LouCity first team on amateur contracts.

This journey all started for Kimberling by seeing his older sister play before him.

“I went to her games and I realized I wanted to give it a try,” he said, and never looked back, going on to be a standout in his teams’ attacking midfields.

Heading to college this fall, Kimberling said he wants to “make an impact immediately, helping my team to a conference championship.” Leadership skills learned within the LouCity Academy will aid him, with Kimberling adding that, “I see my self as a player that can impact those around me.” 

The young midfielder credits the academy program and, in particular, his head coach. Spencer played professionally for LouCity as a striker before moving into his current role as an academy director.

“The academy has grown my skills as much as my mentality and my approach to the game,” Kimberling said. “Each coach has helped me in different parts of my game on their path to make me the best player I can be. Luke Spencer preaches mentality as a major aspect of the game.”

The LouCity Academy has provided a number of its players experiences with the first team professionals, be it those who have earned professional contracts or regularly train with the boys in purple. Kimberling pointed to the opportunity to play against the pros as something that moved his career forward.

“We recently scrimmaged the LouCity pro team and played them close,” he said. “We approached that game with something to prove mentality. They have taught us that we have the quality to play at a high level but what will separate us is our approach and mentality before and during the games.”