Roosevelt University director of athletics John Jaramillo announced on Monday, March 18, 2019 that he has hired former NAIA and CCAC student-athlete, professional and national team soccer player and coach, and Springfield College (NCAA DIII) assistant Luke Blakely as the next head women's soccer coach of the Lakers.
Blakely's first day on the job as Roosevelt head women's soccer coach is Monday, March 25, 2019.
"I am excited to bring Luke Blakely into the Roosevelt Athletics family," Jaramillo said. "His experience in the sport is rich, multifaceted and traces back to his youth, growing up the son of a college coach. Luke brings perspective as a player, coach and business professional within the game that will grow Roosevelt's women's soccer program and provide a new voice within our young athletic department.
"I am looking forward to seeing Luke take the reigns of the Roosevelt women's soccer team and cultivating a first-class experience on and off the pitch for our student-athletes."
"After playing in the CCAC as a student-athlete, I am excited to return as the next head women's soccer coach at Roosevelt University," Blakely said. "I would like to thank the Athletic Director John Jaramillo and all those involved in the hiring process, for their belief in me and my philosophy."
"With my array of domestic and international soccer experiences as both a player and a coach, my knowledge and passion for the game will help me propel the Lakers women's soccer program. I look forward to working with my players to build upon the women's soccer program while enriching their college experience. Go Lakers!"
A native of Leicester, England, Blakely's familiarity with the NAIA and CCAC stem from his time as a student-athlete for former conference member Illinois Tech. After transferring to IIT from Marshalltown Community College in Iowa, Blakely garnered All-CCAC Honorable Mention accolades in 2008 and First Team All-CCAC recognition during the Scarlet Hawks' conference regular-season championship run in 2010.
After guiding the Chicago Fire Premier U23 to a national title in the summer of 2010, Blakely went on to play for Antigua Barracuda FC in the USL Professional Division and the CONCACAF Champions League. He also represented Antigua and Barbuda as a Senior National Team player and played in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches. He also served as an assistant coach for the Antigua and Barbuda U13 and U15 youth national teams.
Blakely went to work for Leicestershire & Rutland County FA as a soccer development officer in Loughborough, UK in 2013 before heading back to the U.S. to serve on the legendary John Gibson's staff as a graduate assistant coach for Springfield (Mass.) from 2014-2016. There Blakely garnered key collegiate women's soccer coaching experience with responsibilities ranging from recruiting, practice leadership, gameday management, team travel coordination and community development. During his two years with the Pride, Blakely helped Springfield win two New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament Championships and advance to two NCAA Division III National Championship Tournaments.
Most recently Blakely has stayed engaged in the game through a variety of means. He worked for Paragon Marketing Group since 2016 as a senior account coordinator co-managing Yokohama Tire's U.S. youth soccer program and leading a variety of Gatorade partnerships and programs. In addition to his work at Paragon, Blakely served as a youth soccer coach for Wilmette Wings Soccer Club.
A 2011 graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Business Administration and a specialization in marketing, Blakely also earned a Master of Education in Sport Management from Springfield College in 2016.
Blakely and his family reside in Chicago.