Ricardo Lara
Eastern Illinois University
Ricardo Lara
Head Men's Soccer Coach
Eastern Illinois
Division 1

Lara was promoted to Director of Soccer overseeing both the men's and women's soccer programs for the 2016 season. In Lara's first year as head men's soccer coach he led the Panther men's soccer team to a 3-14 overall record while going 1-5 in Summit League play. Under his tutelage during the 2015 season, freshmen Trevor Kerns and Brandon McDonough were named to the Summit League All-Newcomer Team while Sophomore goalkeeper Mike Novotny earned Second-Team All-Summit League accolades.   Lara came to EIU following a successful stint as an assistant coach at the University of Dayton where he was on the staff since 2009.  He helped the program win the 2009 Atlantic 10 Regular Season title.  Focusing on the defensive side of the program he played a crucial role in the Dayton program recording shutouts in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014.  During the 2014 season the Flyers post seven shutouts including a string of four straight early in the season.  Dayton finished the season with a 0.94 goals against average as they finished 7-7-5.   In 2013, Lara helped lead the Flyers to one of the best seasons in school history with a .816 winning percentage, including 10 straight wins to open the campaign and just two losses in the entire calendar year. He was honored as the Mid-Atlantic Region Assistant Coach of the year by the NSCAA. The Flyers posted a 0.74 goals against average, the second best mark in the Atlantic 10. Dayton was nationally ranked in 2009, 2012, and 2013 and had three Top 40 recruiting classes in Lara's time with the program. Lara reunited with Dayton head coach Dennis Currier after playing three seasons for him at University of The Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas from 2001-2003. Lara, a three-time NSCAA All-American and captain, was instrumental in helping UIW capture three consecutive Heartland Athletic Conference championships. In 2002 Incarnate Word boasted a 16-1-3 record, a No. 12 national ranking and earned the school's first NCAA tournament bid. Lara helped the squad to a 16-2-2 mark and a return trip to the NCAA tournament in 2003 and a No. 10 national ranking. In addition to his immense success on the field, Lara excelled in the classroom. The two-time NSCAA Academic All-American graduated with a 3.9 GPA in mathematics, earning his bachelor's degree from Incarnate Word in 2003. A native of Las Cruces, N.M., Lara attended the prestigious Bollettieri Soccer Academy in Florida. Upon graduation from UIW, he played four years in the professional ranks. He played for the Minnesota Thunder of the USL First Division from 2004-2006, making 38 appearances. He went to Dayton after a successful 2007-08 season with the Portland Timbers, also a team in the USL First Division. He made 25 appearances for the Timbers who advanced to the USL semifinals. In his career Lara has given back to the community. Not once, but twice, he earned his respective team's humanitarian award. He was honored with the Thunder's Humanitarian of The Year Award in 2006, and while in Portland, was named the Timbers' 2007 Community Player of the Year. During the offseason, Lara feeds his passion for coaching by volunteering with his mother and brothers at the family soccer club Las Cruces Strikers, one of the most successful clubs in New Mexico. He also volunteered his time coaching in Portland. In addition to coaching club teams, Lara served as an assistant coach for the Washington State University women's soccer program in 2005 while playing for the Minnesota Thunder. Kiki and his wife Ashley have one daughter, Mia.