UMSL alum Ken Earley puts creative talents to use for St. Louis CITY SC

by | Dec 20, 2023

He's enjoyed watching the club grow and working with the creative team to develop and bring awareness to the St. Louis-centered brand.
UMSL alum Ken Earley puts creative talents to use for St. Louis CITY SC

by | Dec 20, 2023

He's enjoyed watching the club grow and working with the creative team to develop and bring awareness to the St. Louis-centered brand.
Ken Earley

Ken Earley is the creative director at St. Louis CITY SC. (Photo by Derik Holtmann)

As the creative director of St. Louis CITY SC, Ken Earley enjoys the impact the new soccer club is having on St. Louis.

“I live here, so every time I see a shirt or a flag, that is super impactful and meaningful,” he says. “I was born and raised in St. Louis, so to have something like this is really exciting. To see people I know maybe don’t like soccer but are totally on board with the team has been really, really awesome.”

Growing up, Earley was a self-described “science kid.” He was good at math and science and intended to develop his career in science entering the Pierre Laclede Honors College at the University of Missouri–St. Louis as a pre-med biology major. But one summer, halfway through his studies, he watched “Art & Copy,” a Netflix documentary that featured several advertising professionals discussing the industry and their careers. It clicked. He was fascinated by the subject and decided to change course.

“I was connecting the dots between this documentary and what George Lois did professionally and was like, ‘I think I can do this,’” Earley says. “I looked to see what path this goes down. Traditionally Mizzou kids go down the strat-com journalism route, and UMSL didn’t have that. But they had this media studies track with an advertising certificate. So I just jumped in and never looked back.”

During his junior and senior years in the media studies program, Earley worked as a paid intern at the marketing agency Gorilla 76, getting experience that prepared him for his career. He also received support from Kristy Tucciarone, then an associate teaching professor of media studies.

She encouraged Earley to apply for a scholarship from the St. Louis Ad Club and also bridged the gap between academic and practical knowledge within the industry, encouraging students to develop their portfolios as their calling cards.

After graduating, Earley worked as a copywriter at other agencies for eight years, progressing into an associate creative director role. For nearly two years, he’s served as creative director at St. Louis CITY SC, and has enjoyed watching the club grow and working with the creative team to develop and bring awareness to the St. Louis-centered brand. He prides the club on utilizing local vendors, food service and other contractors, and loves that St. Louis has embraced the soccer team right back.

To stay connected to UMSL and give back a bit of what the university gave to him, Earley attends the freshman orientation at the Honors College every year, sharing his experience with new college students.

“UMSL was a great experience,” he says. “Like most kids, I was a commuter. I lived at home and worked full-time and was still able to get my degree and make friends and have my own unique college experience.”

This story was originally published in the fall 2023 issue of UMSL Magazine. If you have a story idea for UMSL Magazine, email magazine@umsl.edu.

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Wendy Todd

Wendy Todd