The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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Meet the Coaches: Josh Oakley

Josh Oakley (left) is in his second year as the head coach of Eastern men’s soccer (File).

Josh Oakley is a Mattoon native as well as an alum of Eastern Illinois University. This is Oakley’s second year of being a head coach for men’s soccer at Eastern, but this is his fourth year on the staff as he was an assistant coach from 2000-2002.

Oakley’s head coaching experience before Eastern includes Asbury College from 2002-2009, Alma College from 2010-2018, Spring Arbor University from 2019-2020, and then a semi-pro team in Lansing Common FC from 2021-2022.

Oakley said that he has benefitted from being able to coach at different levels and at places in different stages of success.

“My strength is to be in those places that need turning around, need some revitalization. That’s certainly the case here at Eastern,” Oakley said.

At Oakley’s first stop, Asbury College, he was able to take them to their first-ever NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) Region XII Playoff appearance. In 2005 he coached the program to their first winning record since 1981.

At his second stop, Alma College, Oakley was able to take a team that had gone 1-16-3 the year before he started to four straight years of being .500 or better in his fourth season with the team. He also coached the team to four straight MIAA (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association) playoff appearances including school’s first playoff appearance in 2014. During his time there the team also reached top 10 in the NCAA Central Region rankings four times.

At his last college stop, Spring Arbor University, Oakley was able to coach the team to NAIA top 25 rankings both seasons he was there. The team also made it to the NAIA national tournament both years.

Oakley’s next stop was not at a college, but rather semi-pro team as he described it: Lansing Common FC of the Midwest Premier League.

Oakley said his time at Lansing Common was rewarding because he was able to work with some players from Western Michigan University and Michigan State University and help them grow.

“It tested my ability as a coach to try to bring whoever it is together to accomplish a common goal,” Oakley said, “and of course we wanted them taken care of we wanted them on a good path for their college seasons, but the biggest thing is we wanted the team to do well. When you can take a team full of those guys and blend them together for good results, that was a huge excitement for me.”

The main reason Oakley decided to come and coach Eastern was that his family lives in the area, he said.

“That is probably the most paramount reason, I got to be honest I wasn’t sure that college was for me anymore. There’s a lot of different things that you not necessarily fight through but there’s different things that you have to cope with in college soccer and a lot of it has nothing to do with soccer. You still get the chance to build young men and to put some of your ideas out there and to help shape young minds and players.”

Luther Yoder can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Luther Yoder, Assistant Sports Editor
Luther Yoder is a sophomore journalism major. This is his first year at The News.
Tyriq Johnson, Assistant Photo Editor
Tyriq Johnson is a senior digital media technology major. This is his first year at The News.

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