Mia, Kristine, Tish and the Next Generation

Team First 2
GUSA’s McKenna Spencer goes one v one with Tisha Venturini Hoch. Photo by Ann Tingen

By Tim Nash

Check the signs again. Is this really Martinsville, Va.? You sure we’re in the small Southern Virginia town, the one with the NASCAAR track? Okay, so what are those former U.S. National team players doing here? They do, after all, have five Olympic Gold medals between them, and five World Cup championship medals, and a dozen NCAA championship rings. Haven’t the three of them have combined for over 300 goals in nearly 800 international matches?

Well, that’s them. Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Tisha Venturini Hoch. They’re at Smith River Soccer Complex in Martinsville early on a humid Saturday morning.

Why? The answer is simple.

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Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak and Husband Tim Build Family at UCF

Roberts Sahaydak family

University of Central Florida coaches Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak and Tim Sahaydak with daughters, Evie and Layla


By Tim Nash

Every college soccer player has heard it, at least once, when they were being recruited.  College coaches, in an effort to make their program as appealing as possible, pull out the phrase during every visit.

“Our team is like a family,” they say. “We have a real family atmosphere here.”

But at the University of Central Florida, the women’s soccer team really is a family.

“That’s exactly what I tell recruits,” said Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak, the head women’s coach at UCF. “We really do have a family environment.”

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I’d Be Glad to Call You Soccer

By Tim Nash

I never much liked Heineken, but I love their new commercials. Have you see them? They end with “You can call me soccer.”

heinekenLike probably all of you, I grew up playing soccer. Unlike probably many of you, it was during an era when, relative to today, not a whole lot of it was played, virtually none was watched, and all of it was criticized. National teams were virtually non-existent and youth national teams were rare. In fact, I was 31 when the U.S. men made it to the 1990 World Cup, the first time in my lifetime that happened. I was 32 when the first Women’s World Cup was played.

Media coverage? You’re kidding, right? To get soccer news, you subscribed to Soccer America and read the newspapers from large metropolitan areas. Finding soccer info in those papers was easy, if there was any. Step 1, pull out the sports section. Step 2, flip the section over so the back page is facing up. Step 3, look at the back pages for the catchall notes section where editors slap in short pieces to fill out the page. Step 4, Get disgusted when the one piece of soccer news chosen for that day is about hooligans. Step 5, try another paper. Continue reading