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

LEXINGTON, KY (May 10, 2024) – Emily Fields was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, but she will tell you that she bled blue her whole life, just like her mother. She has family in Kentucky and grew up loving sports at the University of Kentucky. As an avid gymnast and cheerleader in high school, she was passionate about being an athlete. However, after a major knee injury and several surgeries, her career as an athlete ended, but she never lost her passion for sports.

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

“I’ve always said if I can’t be an athlete anymore, how am I going to stay involved in what I’ve wanted to do practically my whole life,” Fields said. “When I decided to come to the UK, I chose to specialize in it Integrated Strategic Communication (ISC). It was very unique in that I was learning about public relations, marketing, digital media, advertising, and so much more. There were so many different paths I could have taken.”

Fields was fortunate to find an opportunity to train in public relations with the UK Athletics Department. She said her experience there helped shape her degree and kept her in the game.

“I have worked closely with our men’s soccer, basketball and gymnastics programs for approximately four years. This experience has shaped my future career in ways I never imagined, and I am fortunate to have made so many relationships,” Fields said. Which still holds up to this day. I have many mentors in UK Athletics and I still talk to them often.”

In 2019, Fields earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at the International Study Center with an emphasis in Public Relations from the United Kingdom. College of Communication and Information With a minor in Community development and leadership from Martin Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. The next chapter of her education began on the University of Florida campus where she earned her Master of Science in Sports Management in 2022. Additionally, Fields became a Certified Athlete Development Specialist, allowing her a path to becoming an advocate for many athletes. On her journey in the world of sports.

After leaving Florida, Fields moved straight into positions with various sports organizations, with a five-year stint in the National Football League (NFL), which took her to several states and as far away as Seattle, Washington, where she worked in communications for the Seattle C. Hawks. . Soon after, she received a phone call with a job offer that would take her back to central Kentucky, where she truly considered “home.”

“For me, it was a no-brainer, and I jumped at the opportunity to return to the place I love and call home,” she said. “I was brought to Lexington Athletic Club (LSC) to help create the market and create a real brand for our club, helping show the Lexington community that we are here and ready to participate in the community.

Fields currently works as the Marketing, Communications and Community Engagement Coordinator for LSC, a professional soccer organization now in its second year in Lexington. The USL League One men’s professional team is the second tier of the men’s USL, 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 children and teens to develop their soccer skills from the ground up.

“It’s not every day, especially at my age, I’m only 25, that I’m able to work and help create so many marketing, media and community opportunities for a professional sports organization that’s just getting started.” Fields said. “This is a unique opportunity to write a story for the Lexington community and co-establish LSC’s legacy as a ‘club of your own.’”

Many people consider sports management, like sports in general, to be a male-dominated industry. Being a woman in sports management is only a challenge if you let it be, Fields says, and it’s all about how you present yourself. Fields has two strong mentors who have helped shape her career.

“Susan Lax, Director of Communications and Public Relations for Athletics (Football), was one of my biggest mentors at UK,” she said. “She taught me almost everything I know from a sports communications standpoint, and to this day she is someone I admire.” Can be contacted for advice. She held herself to that confidence and determination that I had 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 strong woman in sports who enters the room with confidence, while simultaneously nurturing her desire to teach and develop others. In industry.

“Both women shaped my career,” Fields said. “He instilled in me that even though this industry can get very intense and stressful at times, if I stay true to who I am, am authentic, and are 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, which is creating a beautiful story that tells the stories of the talented athletes representing LSC.

“I love sitting down with my players and hearing their stories, why they do what they do, and then I turn that around and show the world how great these athletes really are,” Fields said. “With players from different backgrounds, everyone has a different passion behind what they do and why they play. I am so lucky to learn from each one of them, and 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 what’s unique about what we do,” she said. “It’s no longer just writing; It’s social media, it’s television, it’s everywhere. I could write a feature story about an athlete or write a press release about why the athlete came to the team, or it could be as simple as a photo or video to further visually showcase their personality on social media.

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

“Every day that I wake up to work, I’m not necessarily doing it for myself. I’m telling a little piece of history for someone else, and the fact that I can make an impact on athletes and shine a light on them, is something that’s really important to me. Especially through my work in athletics.” Undergraduate students, I have seen the impact it can have, and it may be small changes but they are still important as I watch them take off and advance in their careers and become successful.

LSC currently has two indoor facilities and a set of outdoor courts open to the public, but plans are underway to build a stadium on Athens Boonsboro Road in Lexington that will seat about 7,500 people when completed, Fields says.

“We’re very proud to be in Lexington and that’s why we put our owner Bill Shively here. We love this community, and the most important thing right now is that we want to give back to it as much as we can,” Fields said. “The thing that I think is unique is that we are one motto.” “One club.” This means that from our youth programs to our professional teams, we all wear the same logo on our bodies. No matter what happens, we are all in this together, creating something truly special here in Central Kentucky.

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

“There’s something about the Lexington community and the way people are here that always attracts me,” she said. “I always say it was Atlanta that raised me, but it was Kentucky that made me who I am today. I wouldn’t have this career, I wouldn’t have had the experiences I’ve had if I hadn’t gone to UK, if I hadn’t had an internship at UK Athletics.” United, and if I didn’t have the people and mentors I had here, the feeling of being at home here and the encouragement and empowerment I get from the people who call me home even when I’m across the country is something I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Learn more about Lexington Athletic Club at https://www.lexsporting.com Or subscribe to their e-newsletter here.

What you may not know about Emily Fields

Fields is an avid music fan and has attended more than 100 concerts in her life. Concerts were an activity she shared with her mother at 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 experiencing live music.

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

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