by Adnan Basic / Managing Editor
It might not have been a dream start to the year, but the women’s soccer team here at Roosevelt University is ready to learn from previous mistakes and improve as players face the final stretch of their season.
The campaign got off to a decent start, as the Lakers were able to secure a 1-1 draw in their first game against Harris-Stowe State University. They did fall in their next match, an exhibition versus Rhodes College, but Roosevelt bounced back well by beating Bethel University 1-0 off a winning goal from senior Monica Munoz. The tense run of fixtures continued, as the0 Lakers barely lost to Clarke University before tying Governors State University in their first game of CCAC Conference play.
The wheels fell off for Roosevelt when they were smashed 4-0 at home to Trinity International University, and things only got worse when they lost a heartbreaker to rivals Robert Morris University, conceding three straight goals in the second half. It was a similar story against Holy Cross College a few days later, as the Lakers fell 1-0.
It’s been an admittedly tough start to the year, but there’s still plenty of reason to believe in this team. A prominent reason for this is because of their head coach, who has all the experience in the world when it comes to both playing and coaching soccer.
Luke Blakely was named head coach of the program this past March, and his lengthy resume was the reason why. As a player, he represented Antigua and Barbuda in the 2014 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers while also playing professionally in the United States. He has been equally as successful as a coach, leading the Chicago Fire Premier U-23 team to a national title before joining Roosevelt.
“Having coach Blakely in the women’s soccer program has helped all of us tremendously,” said sophomore criminal justice major Alexis Kane. “He is able to push all of us more than we push ourselves because he believes in us. Our team is better overall because of him when comparing our outcomes of games to last year.”
A big positive for this team has been the move to a new stadium. In years past, Roosevelt had all their soccer games played at SeatGeek Stadium, which is located all the way out in Bridgeview. It was more than an hour’s drive away, which meant too much time spent on the road. That all changed this past offseason, as the school officially moved to IIT Stuart Field, which has hosted every Lakers home game this season.
“Playing at Stuart Field is a lot better because it’s very close and the field is now our home field, which is convenient to us,” said Kane. “Having a field that’s only a 10-15 minute drive away helps people get to practice before classes and have the rest of the day to recover and focus on school.”
Now, everyone involved is focused on the future and making the most of their campaign. “This season I want to win games,” said Kane. “We’re getting better at knowing how each player works on and off the ball and knowing that is a huge aspect in soccer because it is such a huge team sport. I believe our team has the ability to do so especially with all of our coaching staff.
It might be a tough task ahead of them, but the women’s soccer team certainly seems ready for the challenge.