Lakeland’s Underdog Story: A Feature on Rick Mobley

Andrés Gonzalez, Staff Reporter

Rick Mobley, the head Men’s soccer coach at Lakeland is going on his fifth season here at Lakeland. In that time the team has gone from being ranked last in the conference to being one game shy of the playoffs in the 2021 season. We decided to interview him to get some details on his playing and coaching careers as well as what brought him to Lakeland.

Mobley grew up in a small town in North Carolina. He played college soccer at North Carolina Campbell University and upon graduating received an offer to play professional indoor soccer in Milwaukee. He spent the majority of his playing career as a defender from high school up to the professional league.

He later retired at the age of 29 with no intention of coaching whatsoever until the president of Carroll University convinced him to coach there. His coaching career at Caroll lasted 19 years where his teams qualified for numerous NCAA tournaments and at one point ranked 11th in the country.

In 2017 Mobley moved on from coaching to focus more on the administrative side of athletics. Coincidentally, that was around the time Lakeland Men’s soccer lost their coach and a large portion of the team. Despite the program being left in shambles and constant advice against taking the job from colleagues and family, he decided to take the job. He said that the project was appealing to him because he had always liked being the “underdog” and when he was told he couldn’t be successful it motivated him even further. Aside from the underdog spirit of the program, Mobley was also drawn to the diversity Lakeland had to offer.

During his tenure Lakeland’s Soccer program has beaten WLC for the first time in almost a decade, beat MSOE for the first time in a similar amount of time and is close to achieving the goal of making the tournament. Now nearly five seasons in, Coach Mobley and the muskies will be looking to break into the NCAA tournament and build on successes of the last two years.