The men’s soccer team hired Emerson alum Francisco Javier Mejia-Blau as its new head coach, marking the first time in program history that the position has been full-time.
Mejia-Blau, who graduated in 2004, will replace former head coach Jared Scarpaci, who stepped down after it was announced the athletic department wanted to promote the position to full-time.
“The committee did a very thorough and national search,” said Patricia Nicol, athletic director. “They took their time to make sure we found the right person for the job.”
Mejia-Blau was an associate head coach under Scarpaci from 2012 to 2014. He also spent time as an assistant coach for the men’s team from 2004 to 2008, and for the women’s team from 2005 to 2007.
During Mejia-Blau’s time as a student at Emerson, he played for the soccer team and served as a two-year captain.
Mejia-Blau has also coached at Assumption College, Wheaton College, Brandeis University, and Tufts University.
Even with his experience at the collegiate and professional levels of coaching, Mejia-Blau said though he has yet to work as a head coach of a team, he’s looking forward to the experience.
“I’ve spoken to some of the players who I know from a couple of years ago,” said Mejia-Blau. “After having conversations with them, talking to Jared [Scarpaci], and with the support I’ve gotten from the athletic staff, the excitement intensifies pretty much every day.”
Mitchell Lapierre, a senior marketing communication major and team captain, played for Mejia-Blau during the coach’s previous stint with the team.
“He's a great coach from my experience with him, and he really understands all aspects of the Emerson world,” the defender said.
Mejia-Blau said he hopes to give back to both the athletic department and his players during his time as coach.
“All I want to do right now is repay the faith that Patricia Nicol and the search committee and [Senior Associate Athletic Directors] Erin Brennen and Stanford Nance have bestowed upon me to lead the team,” said Mejia-Blau. “[I want] to help the guys on the roster who I know work hard because I saw it from them when I was here a couple of years ago.”
Nicol said that she was pleased with the results of the hiring process.
“[Mejia-Blau] has many qualities that are going to enable him to be very successful here,” Nicol said.
The new coach has his work cut out for him—the Lions haven’t won a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference game since they joined the league in 2013.
“From each particular day, I want to make sure the guys are putting forth a 100 percent effort on and off the field,” Mejia-Blau said. “[If they] maintain those standards throughout the entire season, I think hopefully the results will take care of themselves.”