Craig Blazer
Craig  Blazer

Head Coach


DePaul Announces Change in Leadership of Men’s Soccer Program

National search for next head coach of men's soccer program to be conducted


Blue Demons Host Marquette in Season Finale

DePaul battles Marquette at Wish Field in final match of 2017


DePaul Renews Red Line Rivalry at Loyola Tuesday, Hosts St. John's on Senior Day Saturday

The Blue Demons have an action-packed week with two matches in five days


DePaul Soccer Programs Receive Academic Honors

The Blue Demons are two of 813 programs that were honored for academic excellence


DePaul Soccer Programs Receives Academic Honors

The Blue Demons are two of 813 programs that were honored for academic excellence


HIGHLIGHTS: Men's soccer vs. Marquette

The DePaul men's soccer team finished the 2017 season on a high note on Wednesday afternoon as the Blue Demons overpowered BIG EAST foe and state-line rival Marquette in a 3-1 victory.


DePaul vs Butler

Men's Soccer, Oct. 26, 2016

Contact Coach Craig Blazer

In 2016, DePaul coach Craig Blazer led the Blue Demons to four wins in five matches late in the season and watched his side qualify for the BIG EAST Championship for the second year in a row. They battled a talented Villanova side to a scoreless tie on the road in the playoff opener, but ended their season when the Wildcats advanced on penalty kicks.

This was his 16th season at DePaul, and there were signs everywhere that his program was headed in the right direction as he strives to build a consistent winner. The Blue Demons finished 9-7-3, their best record since the 2008 team went 9-7-4. In one of the top soccer conferences in the nation, DePaul won BIG EAST matches against Seton Hall, Georgetown, No. 15 Butler and St. John's.

With a BIG EAST playoff berth hanging in the balance, Blazer directed his team to four victories in a three-week stretch to qualify for the postseason. Other big wins in 2016 included Albany, Northern Kentucky, UIC and Northwestern.

Blazer continued the rise of the DePaul soccer program and concluded his 15th year in 2015.

Blazer did a masterful job rallying the troops after DePaul started out the 2015 season winning just one of its first 10 matches. The sudden turnabout began with a 3-2 BIG EAST victory over Villanova. That was followed by a 3-2 double-overtime win on the road at Seton Hall for a 2-0-0 league start. The Blue Demons went 4-2-1 in their final seven conference games, and a 3-0 triumph over Marquette in the league finale clinched a berth in the BIG EAST tournament for the first time since 2011.

"The guys continued to believe in what we were doing and kept on believing in themselves," Blazer said. "The coaching staff challenged them to take over the team, and when they finally did, you saw what happened."

They traveled to Xavier for the tournament opener and Jalen Harvey's rocket shot in the 15th minute provided a 1-0 lead. The Musketeers came back with the equalizer in the 31st minute and the game-winner early in the second half. Nonetheless, this was DePaul's best season in four years, and with only two starters graduating, the Blue Demons are poised to continue they momentum they built during crunch time in the BIG EAST season. Expected back are seven of the eight leading scorers from 2015 and 16 of the top 18 players.

The Blue Demons opened the 2014 campaign at 3-2-1 with victories over Green Bay (on the road), Utah Valley and Drake while tying with Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. After dropping back-to-back matches, DePaul rebounded with a 3-1 victory over Seton Hall in its BIG EAST opener and a tie with Loyola Chicago. The Blue Demons wound up with two ties in their final eight matches and finished the season 4-10-4, 1-6-2 in one of the top soccer conferences in the nation. In the final NCAA RPI ranking, the BIG EAST had four teams in the top 13.

The 2014 season saw the development of a number of younger players looking to return DePaul to the BIG EAST postseason. Freshman Han Wustling was named to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team and led all BIG EAST freshmen in assists. He finished No. 8 in the conference overall in assists and assists per game. Freshman Alessandro Thomas was tied for third on the team in goals and points and was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll. Freshman Caleb Pothast was among the top performers in the Blue Demon back line while freshmen George Moushi, Philipp Koenigstein, Marcus Griggs and Kosta Brkovic all made valuable contributions.

Sophomore Simon Megally led the team in points, shots and shots on goal and was second in goals and assists. Sophomore Erik Rodriguez was second in goals and third in points. Junior Jalen Harvey led the team in goals and was second in points. Sophomore Brian Hindle returned from a season-ending injury in 2013 to become an impact player in the midfield and also on defense. Junior goalkeeper Mack Robinson was second in the BIG EAST and No. 37 in the country in saves. Needless to say, the future looks bright for Blazer and his program.

The 2013 edition of the Blue Demons ended a competitive season on a high note with a 2-1 upset of No. 10 Marquette on Senior Day. Junior Art Garza scored the first goal and assisted on the game-winning header by junior Koray Yesilli. Blazer guided the team on a five-game unbeaten streak from Sept. 17-Oct. 2. Included in that stretch was a 2-2, double-overtime tie with No. 7 St. John's.

That demonstrated the team's resiliency. The Blue Demons battled right to the end in overtime losses against three nationally ranked teams. Their schedule featured matches against eight teams that would be ranked in the nation's Top 25 during the season highlighted by the victory over Marquette and the tie with St. John's.

Senior goalkeeper Eric Sorby had a career year and was No. 2 in the nation in total saves during the middle of the 2013 season. Garza had his best season leading the team in goals, assists and points while Yesilli anchored the defense from center back. Freshmen Erik Rodriguez, Simon Megally, Kevin Beyer, Curt Shillingsford and Jake Rawlings had peformances that portend well for the future.

In 2012, the Blue Demons could claim the mythical Chicago-area collegiate soccer crown with victories over Northwestern, Illinois-Chicago and Loyola. DePaul also came away with ties against Valparaiso, Cincinnati and Drake. Blazer & Co. finished off the season with a rousing 3-2 BIG EAST Conference victory over USF at Wish Field.

Antonio Aguilar was selected NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region Second Team for the second year in a row and was named All-BIG EAST First Team for the second-straight year.

In 2011, Blazer led the Blue Demons to their sixth consecutive appearance in the BIG EAST Championship tournament. That is no small feat considering the BIG EAST is among the premier soccer conferences in the nation as seven teams competed in the 2011 NCAA tournament with three BIG EAST teams advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals.

DePaul (6-11-2, 3-5-1 in the BIG EAST) secured a playoff spot on the final day of its regular season with a 2-1 victory over Syracuse at Wish Field. Both teams were battling for the last playoff berth. Wes Vallentine scored his first goal at DePaul in the 17th minute for a 1-0 lead. After the Orange tied it up in the 49th minute, freshman Anthony Hunter scored his first collegiate goal in the 59th minute to send his team onto the postseason. DePaul lost 4-0 at No. 7/4 Connecticut in the first-round playoff match.

The 2011 season saw Blazer and assistant coaches Hobie Hare and Craig Reynolds cultivate and develop a young team that had 13 freshmen and 10 sophomores on its 28-player roster. The Blue Demons were able to overcome a season-ending injury to top midfielder Ray De Leon as sophomore Eric Sorby emerged as goalkeeper.

High points of the season included a 4-0 victory over Big Ten champion Northwestern and battling No. 4 Creighton into double overtime before falling 1-0. Antonio Aguilar was chosen All-BIG EAST First Team and freshman David Selvaggi was named to the All-BIG EAST Rookie Team.

From 2007 to 2009, the program put together an impressive resume that included back-to-back BIG EAST Conference Championship semifinal appearances and a BIG EAST quarterfinal berth while turning Wish Field at Cacciatore Stadium into one of the most dangerous home venues in the BIG EAST.

The Blue Demons went 4-10-5 in 2010 and came through in the clutch. On the final day of the regular season, DePaul defeated Rutgers 2-0 on the road to earn its fifth-consecutive berth in the BIG EAST Championship tournament. In the opening round, the Blue Demons came up short 2-0 against perennial national power Connecticut.

Blazer's Bunch set a school record in 2010 with five ties.

DePaul's team grade-point average was No. 3 in the nation among Division I men's soccer programs. The Blue Demons were also in the top 10 percent of men's soccer programs in the nation in the NCAA's Academic Performance Rate (APR). They received the NSCAA Team Academic Award and the BIG EAST Team Academic Award.

DePaul went 8-9-3 in 2009 and qualified for the BIG EAST tournament with a 5-6-1 league mark. The Blue Demons upset Georgetown in the opening round on penalty kicks and a superb performance from freshman goalkeeper Joe Ferrari.

In the quarterfinals, DePaul matched No. 5 Louisville through two overtimes before finally succumbing on penalty kicks.

Steffen Vroom became the first DePaul field-position player to be named All-BIG EAST First Team and also the first DePaul player to be invited to the MLS (Major League Soccer)Player Combine. Freshman Antonio Aguilar was named to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.

Blazer's eighth year leading the program in 2008 finished in Tampa, Fla. at the BIG EAST Championship semifinals. DePaul's second-straight appearance in the league semifinals is only matched by Notre Dame among its BIG EAST peers. The Blue Demons rode a late-season surge and finished tied for sixth in the NSCAA Great Lakes Region poll.

The 2008 campaign followed arguably the greatest season in program history in 2007 that sawDePaul make its first NCAA Championship appearance. Blazer has steadily built the men's soccer program into a contender in the region and in the BIG EAST. After being picked as the BIG EAST Red Division's eighth-place team in the 2007 preseason poll, the Blue Demons surprised the league by claiming the division title and advancing to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship.

Additionally, DePaul saw itself ranked among the region's top 10 throughout the season and held a program-best No. 5 slot in the Great Lakes Region for four weeks. The Blue Demons made noise nationally as they were ranked as high as No. 17 in the Soccer America Top 25 for the first national ranking in program history.

Individually, Blazer and assistant coach Adam Tinkham were selected as the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year and Blazer was named the Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year by the NSCAA. Brian Visser picked up the BIG EAST's Goalkeeper of the Year Award. The memorable 2007 season concluded with a NCAA Tournament berth, another first for the men's soccer program, and a new record for shutouts in a season while matching the program record for wins in a season.

Through the first three seasons of BIG EAST play, the Blue Demons have improved each year under Blazer's watch. The 2005 squad went 2-8-1 in the league for seven points and proved to be a tough out as they played five overtime matches. The 2006 season saw DePaul qualify for the BIG EAST Championship after a preseason pick to finish eighth in the Red Division. The Blue Demons tallied four league victories, their most conference wins since 2003, and earned the sixth seed from the BIG EAST's Red Division. Among the four league wins were victories over top 15-ranked USF and perennial national power St. John's.

The improvement trend continued in 2007 with a 7-4-0 BIG EAST record and division-best 21 points to go along with a 12-7-0 mark overall. Among the victories were wins over No. 2-Connecticut and No. 21 Louisville while starting the season with wins in five of the first six matches.

One of the cornerstones of Blazer's program is success off the field. DePaul is always among the league's best in the classroom as they claimed the 2007 BIG EAST Team Academic Award. In the first three seasons of BIG EAST membership, the men's soccer program has totaled 51 conference academic honorees. The 2005 team placed 15 members on the list followed by 17 in 2006. DePaul improved on that in 2007 with a conference-best 19 players on the BIG EAST All-Academic Team.

After leading the team through a tough 2001 campaign, Blazer used it as a stepping stone for one of the biggest improvements in college soccer in 2002. In just his second season, Blazer navigated the Blue Demons to their best record since 1996 and the top team GPA among all Conference USA men's soccer programs.

In 2003, DePaul won eight matches and set school records for shutouts and fewest goals allowed in a season. Despite not qualifying for the C-USA Tournament, the Blue Demons were in the thick of the race until the final match of the season. Individually, Patrick Vyncke earned third team All-Midwest Region honors---becoming the first player in DePaul history to be recognized by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

In 2004, DePaul claimed the C-USA Sport Academic Award and John Kornfeld earned third team All-CUSA honors and was named to the league's All-Freshman team. Blazer's squad posted a 3-13-2 overall record and 2-6-2 mark in Conference USA in 2001 after he was named interim head coach.

The Blue Demons were in the hunt for the Conference USA Tournament as late as the final weekend of the season before losing their last two league matches. Individually, Luke Rojo was named to the C-USA All-Freshman team. In that first season, Blazer established a new foundation for the men's soccer program at DePaul. The Blue Demons lost four matches by just a single goal and won back-to-back games for the first time since the 1999 season.

Blazer is no stranger to the world's best in the sport of soccer. Working with the U.S. National teams from 1993-01, he traveled throughout the world and managed soccer at its highest level. The highlight of his U.S. Soccer duties was with the 2000 Sydney Olympics. While in Sydney, the United States recorded their highest finish in Olympic history.

Prior to Sydney, Blazer worked with members of the United States Olympic Committee, Sydney Organizing Committee Olympic Games and Federation International Football Association (FIFA). Leading up to the Sydney Olympics, Blazer managed all 19 pre-Olympic events including competitions in Brazil, England, Portugal, Spain and the 2000 Olympic Qualification Tournament in Hershey, Pa.

He has served as the U.S. National Team Coordinator. His role with the national team included managing team logistics with traveling throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America. In December 1998, Blazer organized and supervised the first international joint venture between Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer in Manchester, England, with the MLS Project-40 team.

In addition to his current coaching duties at DePaul, he is also involved with youth soccer at all levels. He works with the Illinois Olympic Development Program as a member of the Region II staff. Blazer earned his U.S. Soccer "A" Coaching license in 2000 and coached at Cincinnati's Fairfield High School in 1992. While playing at Xavier, he assisted at LaSalle High School from 1987-91.

As a player, Blazer was a goalkeeper at Xavier University from 1987-91 and earned a degree in Political Science and Communications. Craig and his wife, Claudia, are the parents of two sons, Oscar and Julian, and two daughters, Stella and Sophia.

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