Faith-oriented, one for the limelight, nothing half-assed and a leader. These are just some of the ways one might describe Utah’s goalkeeper Lindsey Luke. What most people don’t know is that Luke almost stopped playing competitive soccer before even arriving in Utah.
Luke was just finishing her first year at Wake Forest when she decided it was not a good fit for her. It didn’t feel like home, and soon she wanted to transfer. While growing up, Luke’s parents had a home in Utah, and becoming a Ute appealed to her, but she wasn’t sure if she even wanted to play soccer any longer.
“I just kind of was at a point where I was like, ‘What do I want to do? Is this really where my heart is at? Do I want to try and go on without soccer?’ ” Luke said.
That’s when Luke decided to visit the Utah campus. Right away, she knew this was what college was supposed to feel like. It was a feeling of belonging, and the love for the sport returned.
“She actually just showed up, I didn’t even know she was on campus,” head coach Rich Manning said. “We had a spring game that she just came to and we didn’t know. Then she came and said ‘hi’ after the game. It was a really great surprise.”
It was great timing, too, because the Utah women’s soccer team was in need of a keeper. The current Ute goalie had to retire because she’d suffered too many concussions, and Manning was in search of a backup.
Manning can recall Luke’s first game as a Ute. It was a sold-out televised home game against BYU in Aug. 2012. Luke was still recovering from an ankle injury, so she was on the sideline on the training bike. Then-sophomore Cheyanne Mulcock was in goal and got into a collision at the start of the game and tore her posterior cruciate ligament, or PCL. With Mulcock out, Manning was forced to call on Luke, who was still in sneakers on the training bike.
Luke went into the game and followed her motto — “No half-assing.” She shut out the Cougars, and Utah won 1-0.
Luke thrives on the bigger stages, where the pressure is amped up. She enjoys having games be televised and playing in front of sold-out crowds. That passion helped her spawn a second motto: “Look good, feel good. Feel good, play good.”
Luke enjoys getting ready for the games. She likes to have her hair look nice and even puts on a little make-up. Fans may see her looking nice in goal, but she wasn’t always the fearless keeper she is now.
When Luke first started to play competitive soccer she was a forward. She admits she was never really the best at the position, but she just enjoyed playing no matter where she was on the field. One game, her team’s keeper was injured, and Luke’s coach called on her to fill in for the rest of the game. Turns out she had an easier time stopping goals than scoring them.
“My club coach jokes now that he was going to cut me because I wasn’t that good,” Luke said.
In time she became more comfortable between the posts, and soon enough she had offers to play at the collegiate level.
Soccer has taken Luke on a long journey. She started off as a forward, moved to keeper and finally ending up playing for Utah. The sport has helped her through some tough times as well, whether it’s with family or making life decisions.
Because of the help it’s given her, Luke now can’t imagine life without soccer. If she wasn’t blocking shots at one end, she would be scoring them at the other. She has a strong love for the game, which might be linked to her strong faith.
Luke is a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an international non-profit Christian sports ministry. She was introduced to the FCA by former Utah captain Allie Wisner, and during the season the two would share a pregame prayer together. Her faith is evidenced by a bracelet she wears with the words “I am second” on it.
“It is meant to remind me of how thankful I should be to be where I am when things could have gone south,” Luke said.
After everything Luke has accomplished in soccer, she does not plan on stopping at the collegiate level. Her eyes are set on a professional career.
“I am kind of stubborn when I set a goal I want to achieve,” Luke said. “I don’t like to let anything get in my way when I set my mind to something.”
She isn’t the only one who thinks she can accomplish the goal.
“There is no question,” Manning said. “She has proven in the last year that she makes a difference in our conference. She is a difference-maker, which is in the highest level of women’s college soccer. Yeah, there is no question.”
Whatever Luke ends up doing, people can expect her to be in the limelight and doing nothing “half-assed.”