Soccer: From Olympic Gold to Black and Gold
An Olympic gold medalist, World Cup champion and two-time NCAA champion has been named head women’s soccer coach at UCF. Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak will guide the Knights in their first year as members of the American Athletic Conference. Roberts Sahaydak spent the past six seasons at VCU alongside her co-head coach and husband, Tim Sahaydak.
As the fifth head coach in the 32-year-history of UCF women’s soccer, Roberts Sahaydak will inherit a program with 22 conference championships, 17 NCAA Tournament appearances and more than 385 victories. She replaces Amanda Cromwell, her former teammate on the U.S. National Team. Cromwell left the Knights in April for the same position at UCLA.
Tim Sahaydak, a former Major League Soccer defender, will sign on as UCF’s associate head coach.
“We’re thrilled to have Tiffany join the UCF family. Her wealth of knowledge and experience as a coach and a player will serve the Knights very well,” said Todd Stansbury, UCF vice president and director of athletics. “Tiffany has exactly the kind of background, personality and expertise we were looking for in our next women’s soccer coach. We’re also looking forward to adding Tim Sahaydak to our staff. I believe Tiffany and Tim give us the kind of leadership that will allow our women’s soccer program to continue being very successful for many years to come. I also want to recognize senior associate athletic director David Hansen for a job well done leading this search.”
Added Roberts Sahaydak: “I am thrilled to be joining the University of Central Florida family even though it is difficult to move on from a VCU program that Tim and I have built over the past six years. I would like to thank Todd Stansbury for the time he spent with me discussing his vision for UCF Athletics, and for the confidence he has in me leading an extraordinary Knights women’s soccer program. I’m honored to join such a successful soccer tradition.”
Roberts Sahaydak spent a decade with the U.S. National Team from 1994-2004, earning 110 caps (with 60 starts). Her career was highlighted by three women’s World Cups – among them, the unforgettable 1999 championship – and a gold medal with the 1996 Olympic team.
She is a native of San Ramon, Calif., and was selected as the 1994 California High School Player of the Year. She was a three-time Parade High School All-American, a three-time NSCAA All-American and was the two-time National Girl’s High School Player of the Year.
She debuted for the Stars and Stripes in 1994 when she was only 16 as one of the youngest players ever to suit up for the National Team. She played in her first FIFA Women’s World Cup a month after her 18th birthday and won Olympic gold before she was out of her teens (USSoccer.com).
As a collegian, Roberts Sahaydak was a standout midfielder for North Carolina (1995-98) as a three-time All-ACC First Team selection. She led the Tar Heels to two NCAA titles (1996, 1997) during her tenure, was voted the 1998 ACC Tournament MVP and finished third in voting for collegiate soccer’s highest honor, the Hermann Trophy. She still ranks among the top five for career starts in UNC’s record book.
She was a two-time captain for the Carolina Courage in the first fully professional U.S. women’s league (Women’s United Soccer Association). She helped the Courage win the 2002 title after finishing last in the team’s inaugural campaign one year prior.
Roberts Sahaydak took over VCU’s program in 2007 and led the Rams to three conference championship game appearances. She was voted as the 2011 Colonial Athletic Association Co-Head Coach of the Year, along with her husband Tim. The duo mentored two CAA Defenders of the Year, one CAA Rookie of the Year and 20 all-conference players, including six first-team honorees.
“Tiffany Roberts has the pedigree UCF’s athletic department was looking for and as her former teammate on the U.S. women’s national team, I wish her the best of success as head coach,” said UCF alum and National Soccer Hall of Fame member Michelle Akers, who served on the hiring committee.
Tim Sahaydak rose quickly through the national soccer community, earning spots on the U-18 and U-20 national teams and gaining a scholarship to the University of North Carolina for the 1995 season.
In 1997, he was granted the opportunity to become, at the time, the youngest player ever to play on a Major League Soccer team when he suited up for the Columbus Crew. He spent two seasons with Columbus before joining the Miami Fusion for three seasons and also served on the reserve squads for FC Dallas and DC United.
After his playing career came to a close, Sahaydak returned to Chapel Hill and completed his degree in communications/rhetorical studies.
The couple will come to Orlando with their two daughters, Layla and Evie. They will likely start at UCF at the end of May.
Season ticket packages for the 2013 season are now on sale. The popular soccer scarf — $30 for adults, $15 for youth ages 2-17 – will once again serve as one general admission ticket to all regular season home matches. The GOLD pass is also available for $90 and includes admission to the following UCF regular season home events: men’s soccer, women’s soccer, volleyball, softball, track & field and women’s basketball.