Notre Dame alum Nerwinski embraces soccer and faith playing MLS for St. Louis City

September 29, 2023 at 7:00 a.m.
Jake Nerwinski, right, and his team St. Louis CITY SC prepare for their upcoming home match against the LA Galaxy at the Washington University Orthopedics High Performance Center in St. Louis, MO on Tuesday Sept. 06.
Jake Nerwinski, right, and his team St. Louis CITY SC prepare for their upcoming home match against the LA Galaxy at the Washington University Orthopedics High Performance Center in St. Louis, MO on Tuesday Sept. 06. (Joe Martinez, St. Louis CITY SC)

By RICH FISHER
Contributing Editor

Jake Nerwinski is enjoying soccer as much as ever; and that pleasure is enhanced by his ever-growing faith.

The 2013 Notre Dame High, Lawrenceville, graduate is a defender for St. Louis City SC, which is setting numerous records for expansion teams in Major League Soccer.

City leads the MLS Western Division with 53 points, eight ahead of Los Angeles with three games remaining. St. Louis has tied the MLS mark for the most wins (16) by a first-year franchise, tied the record for most wins to start a season (five), and was the quickest fledgling team to reach both 25 and 50 points. It will end the season with the most goals and biggest goal differential for an expansion squad.

Nerwinski is currently coming off the bench and his job is to shut down the glutton of talented left wingers in the league. He is third on City in games started and fifth in minutes played and has two assists. 


Jake Nerwinski and St. Louis CITY SC take on Orlando City SC at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla., Aug. 26.Andrea Vilchez, St. Louis CITY SC Freelance

With St. Louis being one of the nation’s soccer hot spots, the University of Connecticut grad is playing before sold-out crowds and recognized by fans on the street. It is a marked difference from his six previous seasons in Vancouver.

It could make a young man’s ego swell, but Jake’s time at Notre Dame has kept him grounded.

“It doesn’t only teach you how to face challenges, but other core values about having to be a good person,” Nerwinski said of his Catholic school education. “That’s what I value the most, to be good to others and be good in your community. That’s something I’ve taken head-on and try to do my best with.”

His marriage to wife Allison has also aided Jake’s faith. Allison’s brother, Father Andrew Auletta, is a fellow Notre Dame grad who now serves as parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Downingtown, Pa.

“After being together with my wife, who is very into faith, I think I found it a bit more,” said Nerwinski, who attended St. Ann Parish, Lawrenceville, growing up. “My dad is Catholic; my mom grew up Jewish. I wasn’t always all in on Catholicism. It was something I had to find on my own and I think recently I found it a lot more. It’s definitely been a nice light in my life. My wife is still teaching me things every day. I get to have good talks with my brother-in-law.”

Jake feels he has numerous teammates with similar personalities. Because so many players were castoffs from other clubs, they have banded together to prove their previous employers wrong and live by a team-first attitude.

“This is the best locker room I’ve ever been a part of,” Nerwinski said. “We have guys from all over; it doesn’t matter how much you’re making, what people are saying about you. There’s not one ego on this team. I think that’s really rare, and I don’t know if any other club can say that. So that’s something that has played a huge part in our success.”

The kind of success few MLS expansion teams have ever had.


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Jake Nerwinski is enjoying soccer as much as ever; and that pleasure is enhanced by his ever-growing faith.

The 2013 Notre Dame High, Lawrenceville, graduate is a defender for St. Louis City SC, which is setting numerous records for expansion teams in Major League Soccer.

City leads the MLS Western Division with 53 points, eight ahead of Los Angeles with three games remaining. St. Louis has tied the MLS mark for the most wins (16) by a first-year franchise, tied the record for most wins to start a season (five), and was the quickest fledgling team to reach both 25 and 50 points. It will end the season with the most goals and biggest goal differential for an expansion squad.

Nerwinski is currently coming off the bench and his job is to shut down the glutton of talented left wingers in the league. He is third on City in games started and fifth in minutes played and has two assists. 


Jake Nerwinski and St. Louis CITY SC take on Orlando City SC at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla., Aug. 26.Andrea Vilchez, St. Louis CITY SC Freelance

With St. Louis being one of the nation’s soccer hot spots, the University of Connecticut grad is playing before sold-out crowds and recognized by fans on the street. It is a marked difference from his six previous seasons in Vancouver.

It could make a young man’s ego swell, but Jake’s time at Notre Dame has kept him grounded.

“It doesn’t only teach you how to face challenges, but other core values about having to be a good person,” Nerwinski said of his Catholic school education. “That’s what I value the most, to be good to others and be good in your community. That’s something I’ve taken head-on and try to do my best with.”

His marriage to wife Allison has also aided Jake’s faith. Allison’s brother, Father Andrew Auletta, is a fellow Notre Dame grad who now serves as parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Downingtown, Pa.

“After being together with my wife, who is very into faith, I think I found it a bit more,” said Nerwinski, who attended St. Ann Parish, Lawrenceville, growing up. “My dad is Catholic; my mom grew up Jewish. I wasn’t always all in on Catholicism. It was something I had to find on my own and I think recently I found it a lot more. It’s definitely been a nice light in my life. My wife is still teaching me things every day. I get to have good talks with my brother-in-law.”

Jake feels he has numerous teammates with similar personalities. Because so many players were castoffs from other clubs, they have banded together to prove their previous employers wrong and live by a team-first attitude.

“This is the best locker room I’ve ever been a part of,” Nerwinski said. “We have guys from all over; it doesn’t matter how much you’re making, what people are saying about you. There’s not one ego on this team. I think that’s really rare, and I don’t know if any other club can say that. So that’s something that has played a huge part in our success.”

The kind of success few MLS expansion teams have ever had.

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