Justin Hughes, a former collegiate and professional goalkeeper, remains at Creighton for his second season on the Creighton coaching staff. Hughes was a four-year letterwinner at North Carolina, playing under Elmar Bolowich from 2003-06. Following a standout collegiate career, he was drafted by the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer and spent two seasons with the Rapids.
Hughes works primarily with the goalkeepers at Creighton, coaching All-American Brian Holt last season in Hughes’ first season on the Bluejay bench. Holt finished the season with an NCAA record 0.21 goals against average, surrendering just five goals in 24 games. Hughes led the Bluejay keepers to the nation’s lead in goals against average (0.20), shutout percentage (0.790) and save percentage (.926).
Hughes spent the 2010 season as an assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s soccer teams at Elon University in North Carolina, helping both squads post winning records.
The Wake Forest, N.C., native started all 43 matches he appeared in during his four seasons with the Tar Heels. UNC advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of his four seasons in Chapel Hill, with Hughes posting two of the top three goals against average marks in school history. As a junior in 2005, he led the ACC with a 0.50 GAA, the second-best mark in school history at that point. His junior season included seven shutouts, six of which he posted consecutively to tie a UNC record. He was tabbed to the ACC All-Tournament Team in 2005 as well. As a freshman in 2003, he was in goal for a shutout win over No. 1-ranked Maryland.
Prior to his senior season in 2006, he was named a MAC Hermann Trophy candidate, an honor bestowed upon the top player in collegiate soccer. He finished his career at UNC ranked second in school history with a 0.79 career goals against average. In addition to his play at UNC, he was also a member of the United States U-20 National Team pool, selected as one of 21 players to participate in the 2005 FIFA Youth World Championships in Holland.
Following his successful collegiate career, Hughes spent two seasons with the Colorado Rapids, helping the team to a 2007 Reserve Division title. He was also selected as the recipient of the 2008 Colorado Rapids Community Service Award after making 60 community appearances to schools, soccer clinics and camps. Hughes also spent one season playing for Real Maryland FC of the United Soccer Leagues.
Hughes, 27, was a Dean’s List honoree and member of the ACC All-Academic Team before graduating from North Carolina with a double major in exercise and sport science and geography. He and his wife, Mallory Nicole, were married on June 2, 2012.