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May 10, 2024

Advancing Kentucky: Alum brings her passion for sports back to the community she calls home

By Ann Blackford

Emily Fields is the marketing, communication and community engagement coordinator for Lexington Sporting Club (LSC), a professional soccer organization now in its second year in Lexington. Photo provided by Fields.

Emily Fields is the marketing, communication and community engagement coordinator for Lexington Sporting Club (LSC), a professional soccer organization now in its second year in Lexington. Photo provided by Fields.

Emily Fields was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, but she will tell you she bled blue her whole life, just like her mom. She has family in Kentucky and she grew up loving University of Kentucky sports. As an avid gymnast and cheerleader in high school, she was passionate about being an athlete. However, after a significant knee injury and multiple surgeries, her career as an athlete was put to an end, but she never lost her passion for sports.

Once Fields arrived on the UK campus in 2016, she set a new dream into motion.

“I always said if I can’t be an athlete anymore, how do I stay involved with what I’ve wanted to do practically my whole life,” Fields said. “When I decided to come to UK, I chose to major in integrated strategic communication (ISC). It was so unique in the sense I was learning about public relations, marketing, digital media, advertising and so much more. There were so many different avenues I could take.”

A game changer for Fields was having the good fortune to find a public relations internship in the UK Athletics Department. She said her experience there helped mold her degree and it kept her in the game.

“I worked with our men’s football, men’s basketball and gymnastics program very closely for about four years," Fields said. "This experience shaped my future career in ways I would’ve never imagined, and I am fortunate to have made so many relationships that still hold strong to this day. I’ve got multiple mentors in UK Athletics whom I still talk to often."

In 2019, Fields earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in ISC with a focus in public relations from the UK College of Communication and Information with a minor in community and leadership development from the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. The next chapter of her education played out on the University of Florida campus where she earned a Master of Science degree in sports management in 2022. Additionally, Fields became a certified athlete development specialist, providing her the pathway to become an advocate for so many athletes in her journey within the sports industry.

After leaving Florida, Fields went straight into positions with several sports organizations, serving five years in the National Football League (NFL), that took her to several states and as far away as Seattle, Washington, where she worked in communications for the Seattle Seahawks. Soon after, she received a phone call with a job offer that would take her back to Central Kentucky, where she truly calls “home.”

“For me, it was a no-brainer and I jumped at the opportunity to get back to the place I love and call home,” she said. “I was brought to the Lexington Sporting Club (LSC) to help create market and establish a true brand for our club, helping to show the Lexington community that we’re here and ready to get involved in the community.”

Fields is currently working as the marketing, communication and community engagement coordinator for LSC, a professional soccer organization now in its second year in Lexington. Their men’s professional USL League One team is the second tier of the USL for men, and the women’s USL Super League team is the same level as the National Women’s Soccer League (NSWL) and the highest level in women’s soccer. Additionally, LSC has youth programs that work with kids and teens to develop their soccer skills from the ground up.

“It’s not every day, especially at my age, I’m only 25-years-old, to be able to work with and help create so many marketing, media and community opportunities for a professional sports organization that is just getting started,” Fields said. “It’s a unique opportunity to write a story for the Lexington community and be a part in establishing LSC’s legacy as 'A Club to Call Your Own.'”

Many people consider sports administration, much like sports in general, a male-dominated industry. Fields says that being a woman in sports administration is only a challenge if you let it and it’s all about the way you present yourself. Fields has two strong female mentors who have shaped her career.

“Susan Lax, director of athletics communications and public relations (football), was one of my biggest mentors at UK," she said. "She taught me pretty much everything I know from a sports communication’s standpoint, and to this day is someone I can call upon for advice. She held herself with this confidence and determination that I always admired and took with me when I ventured out on my own.”

Fields describes her other mentor, Julie Barber, director of media service operations for the Seattle Seahawks, as a powerful woman in sports who walks into a room with confidence, and at the same time is nurturing and forthcoming with her desire to teach and develop others in the industry.

“Both women have shaped my career,” Fields said. “Instilling in me that, while this industry can get very intense and stressful at times, if I stay true to who I am, be authentic, be confident in what I do, my work will speak for itself.”

Fields will tell you that her favorite part of her job is the same thing that motivates her in her career, and that is creating a beautiful narrative to tell the stories of the talented athletes that represent LSC.

“I love sitting down with my players and listening to their stories, why they do what they do, and then turn that around and show the world how great these athletes truly are,” said Fields. “With players from so many different backgrounds, each and every person has a different passion behind what they do and why they play. I’m incredibly lucky to learn from each of them, and I am honored to be able to share their beautiful stories with the world.

“There are so many ways you can tell a story and I think that’s the unique thing about what we do,” she said. “It’s no longer just writing; it is social media, it’s television, it’s everywhere. I can write a feature story on an athlete or write a press release on why an athlete is coming to the team, or it can be something as simple as a photograph or video to visually showcase their personality even more on social media.”

Storytelling and player development is the heart and soul of what Fields does every day. She says that making a difference in an athlete’s life through her work is the reason she loves her work.

“Every day that I get up for work, I’m not necessarily doing it for me. I’m telling someone else’s little piece of history, and the fact that I get to make an impact on the athletes and provide them with the spotlight, is something that is really important to me. Especially from working in college athletics, I’ve seen the impact it can make, and it may be small changes but it still matters. I get to watch them go off and progress in their career and become successful.”

Fields says the LSC currently has two indoor facilities and a host of outdoor fields that are open to the public, but plans are underway to build a stadium on Athens Boonesboro Road in Lexington that will hold about 7,500 people when it is complete.

“We are very proud to be in Lexington and that’s why our owner Bill Shively put us here. We love this community, and the biggest thing right now is we want to give back to it as much as possible,” Fields said. “Something I believe is so unique, is that we are 'One Crest, One Club.' Meaning from our youth programs all the way to our professional teams, we all wear the same crest on our body. No matter what, we are all in this together, creating something really special right here in Central Kentucky.”

For now, Fields is looking forward to the start of the USL League One men’s 2024 season which runs through October. She describes this year’s team of players as “phenomenal” and hopes people will want to come out and fall in love with the players and the sport of soccer.

“There’s just something about the Lexington community and the way people are here that always draws me back,” she said. “I always say that Atlanta raised me, but Kentucky made me who I am. I wouldn’t be in this profession, and I wouldn’t have had the experiences I’ve had if I didn’t go to UK, if I didn’t take the internship in UK Athletics, and if I didn’t have the people and mentors that I have had here. The feeling of home that I get here and the encouragement and empowerment that you get from the people who represent home to me even when I was across the country is something I would not trade for the world.”

Learn more about the Lexington Sporting Club at or sign up for their e-newsletter here.

What you may not know about Emily Fields

Fields is a huge music fan and has been to over 100 concerts in her life. Concerts were an activity she shared with her mother as early as the age of six or seven. At some point growing up, she stopped asking for gifts and asked for concert tickets instead because she says nothing beats having the experience that live music brings.

“I love the feelings and emotions you get from music," she said. "I love the storytelling aspect in every part of my life and music tells a beautiful story and people can take from it the positive or the negative.”

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