Blazer Gets Extension
June 15, 2010
CHICAGO - It has been quite a run for Craig Blazer these last four years.
The men's soccer coach has led DePaul to four consecutive appearances in the BIG EAST Conference Championship tournament---advancing to the BIG EAST final four in 2007 and 2008. Best of all, Blazer and the Blue Demons earned their first NCAA Championship tournament berth in 2007.
Such a string of success has earned Blazer a contract extension from DePaul that runs through the 2014-15 academic year. "I'm proud of the coach Craig has become," said DePaul Athletics Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto.
"He has taken advantage of every opportunity to make our program better. "His success is evidenced by the success our program has had in the BIG EAST. Craig has led DePaul men's soccer to its first NCAA tournament appearance and to the BIG EAST Conference semifinals in 2007 and 2008.
"We have seen tremendous growth under his leadership. I'm looking forward to Craig and his staff raising the program to another level and being competitive in the BIG EAST and NCAA year-in and year-out." Last fall, the Blue Demons upset Georgetown on penalty kicks in the opening round of the BIG EAST tournament in Washington, D.C.
They battled No. 5 Louisville in the quarterfinals before finally succumbing on penalty kicks in Kentucky. Senior Steffen Vroom became the first DePaul player to ever be invited to the MLS (Major League Soccer) Player Combine. Vroom was also the school's first field-position player to earn All-BIG EAST First Team honors while freshman Antonio Aguilar was chosen for the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.
After DePaul upset No. 9 Northwestern and No. 8 UC-Irvine in the same week, Vroom was the consensus pick for National Player of the Week. "I feel fortunate that I get to do what I believe in, and that the university is giving us everything we need to be successful," said Blazer, who is entering his 10th year and was the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year in 2007.
"Father Holtschneider (DePaul President Father Dennis Holtschneider) and Jeanne Ponsetto attend our games and have given a new level of commitment to our staff and to our student-athletes' athletic and academic success.
" Men's soccer earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award for the second-straight year. After DePaul won the BIG EAST Red Division title in 2007, Blazer and assistant coach Adam Tinkham were honored as the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year.
Blazer has been quite active on the international soccer scene, serving as the U.S. National Team Coordinator from 1993-2001. The highlight of his Team USA stint was the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He has also worked with members of the United States Olympic Committee and FIFA (Federation International Football Association). "We are all working hard to capture and enhance the momentum of the new Wish Field/Cacciatore Stadium renovation project," Blazer said.
"We are going to have one of the most unique fan-player experiences in soccer. "It's so special to have our fans so close to the action. Wish Field could become the Wrigley Field of college soccer. "DePaul is a special institution. It has a rich history of success and successful people who truly love getting better. I have enjoyed every step of the way, but we have so much more to accomplish. "I can't wait to see what we achieve in 2010 and beyond."