UIC men's soccer mentor continues commitment to growing the game of soccer in the UIC community
UIC will travel to Northern Illinois Saturday afternoon
UIC men's soccer partners with Urban Initiatives to foster a better Chicago
Five new players set to join program
Spring schedule set to begin on April 6 at Northern Illinois
One national championship. Three College Cups. And a key component in leading UIC to the winningest era in the history of the program. When officials welcomed Sean Phillips as the fifth head coach of the UIC men's soccer program, they knew they were getting a winner.
Prior to taking over the reins last season, Phillips served as the top assistant coach of the Flames since 2005. During his tenure, UIC advanced to three straight NCAA tournaments between 2006-2008. This included back-to-back Sweet 16 runs and an unprecedented trip to the Elite Eight in 2007. The Flames also achieved their greatest national rankings during Phillips' UIC career, including a school-best No. 4 ranking in 2008.
In his role as the program's top assistant, Phillips coordinated countless facets of the program, including recruiting, game strategy, training, scheduling, academics and much more.
Jovan Bubonja, the greatest goalkeeper in UIC history and one of the three best keepers in college soccer over the last decade according to College Soccer News, was discovered and recruited to UIC by Phillips. He coached Bubonja to a seemingly-endless list of accolades that are highlighted by back-to-back All-America seasons and a semifinalist nod for the Hermann Trophy, given to college soccer's national player of the year, in 2008.
Four Flames players achieved All-America honors in the last four seasons under Phillips' watch, including current Chicago Fire midfielder Baggio Husidic, who claimed Horizon League Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year accolades in 2008, and signed a Generation adidas contract at the conclusion of the 2008 season, being recognized as one of the most promising underclassmen in the country.
Phillips began his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater, Indiana University, in 2000. He helped the Hoosiers advance to three College Cups while on staff, winning a national championship in 2004 before heading to UIC. The Indiana Hoosiers also made a pair of trips to the College Cup during his playing career from 1991-94.
In 2005, UIC enjoyed the sixth-biggest turnaround in the nation, capitalizing on a rebuilding project that began in the spring of 2005 when Phillips arrived with a new staff as the top assistant. That experience will undoubtedly pay dividends for the Flames heading into the future. Last season, Phillips and his staff took over a team that lost eight starters from the 2009 team.
While fielding one of the youngest teams in the Horizon League and battling injuries to five starters, the Flames played well down the stretch; UIC beat nationally-ranked Ohio State 1 - 0 at Flames Field in mid-October, jumpstarting a stretch that saw the Flames blank three opponents in just 14 days. The win over the Buckeyes gave UIC momentum in the ensuing weeks, leading to pivotal road wins over Milwaukee and Valparaiso in the final three conference games.
At the conclusion of the season, senior defender Robert Younger was named an All-Great Lakes Region performer, despite sitting out the last five games with a season-ending knee injury.
Phillips is very active in the soccer community, serving as a clinician for "America Scores Chicago," a soccer league with the purpose of providing boys and girls with an alternative to spending after-school time on the streets. His players are also active in the organization, serving as coaches, while helping the program secure better equipment.
He also serves as the Technical Advisor for the Chicago United Futbol Club, an elite training program targeted to support all facets of youth soccer development, ranging from the initial stages of skill development to elite level training. Chicago United Futbol Club also counts Coach Phillips as a board member.
Phillips has become active with the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO), coordinating attendance at UIC soccer games for students from UNO's charter schools, and consulting the organization's growing soccer programs. He recently served as a guest speaker at the UNO athletics banquet.
Phillips graduated with a bachelor's degree in Public Policy from Indiana in 1994, and earned his Master's in Sport Management from IU in 2002.
Phillips holds numerous coaching licenses, including an NSCAA Premier Diploma with Distinction, an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma with Distinction, and an NSCAA Goalkeeper Level III Diploma.
UIC is a family affair for Phillips, as his wife Allison works for the University Office of Development. The family currently resides in Logan Square.
ASSISTANT COACH - UIC Year Record Postseason 2009 6-6-7 2008 12-4-6 NCAA Sweet 16 2007 13-6-6 NCAA Quarterfinals 2006 13-3-5 NCAA Second Round 2005 10-5-2