Former Women’s Soccer Standout Named Head Coach

Margaret (Tietjen) Rodriguez with player Yamilee Eveillard. (Stephen Slade '89 (SFA) for UConn)
Margaret (Tietjen) Rodriguez, new head coach of women's soccer, with player Yamilee Eveillard. (Stephen Slade '89 (SFA) for UConn)

Margaret “Mags” Rodriguez becomes the only the third head coach of the women’s soccer team after 37-year coach Len Tsantiris retired in November.

Rodriguez, a former player who has served as an assistant coach at UConn for the past 10 seasons, was named the head women’s soccer coach following a national search, according to David Benedict, director of athletics.

“It became clear that the best candidate was right here in Storrs,” said Benedict. “Over the past 10 years, Mags has demonstrated extraordinary passion for UConn women’s soccer and dedication to our student-athletes. I feel that she is the perfect person to lead our program into the future.”

Margaret (Tietjen) Rodriguez, new head coach of women's soccer, with player Sabrina Toole. (Stephen Slade '89 (SFA) for UConn)
Margaret Rodriguez speaks with player Sabrina Toole. (Stephen Slade ’89 (SFA) for UConn)

Since Rodriguez joined the staff, the Huskies have won 114 games, made five NCAA tournament appearances, and won a pair of American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships. Three players earned All-American status, including multiple All-American seasons from Rachel Hill and Stephanie Ribeiro.

Off the field, 59 players earned All-Academic Conference honors while she was an assistant coach. The 2011 team secured the highest-team GPA (3.88) on campus during the 2011-2012 academic year.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled about this opportunity to represent a program and University that I care so deeply about,” said Rodriguez. “My staff and I will work tirelessly to foster an incredible student-athlete experience on and off the field and bring home some championship titles.”

A 1999 Connecticut graduate, Rodriguez – then Tietjen – played for the Huskies from 1995 to 1998. She is sixth on the all-time Husky scoring list, with 128 points. Her 43 goals and 42 assists make her one of only four UConn alumni to be a part of the elite NCAA “40-40” Club. She played in 99 games, making 91 starts, and her teams had an overall record of 85-12-4. Rodriguez led her team to three NCAA quarterfinals and one NCAA final appearance in 1997.

Margaret (Tietjen) Rodriguez, new head coach of women's soccer, with player Toriana Patterson. (Stephen Slade '89 (SFA) for UConn)
Margaret Rodriguez speaks with player Toriana Patterson. (Stephen Slade ’89 (SFA) for UConn)

Rodriguez graduated from UConn with a degree in kinesiology and fitness management, and played professional soccer for three years in the Women’s United Soccer Association. She was drafted in the eighth round (64th pick overall) by the San Diego Spirit, and played two seasons (2001-02) with San Diego, before finishing out her professional career with the New York Power from 2003 to 2004.

Prior to returning to UConn, Rodriguez spent four seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Hartford, helping the team win the 2006 America East regular season and tournament tiles, as well as earn a berth in the 2006 NCAA Tournament.

“I’m very happy that the new coach is one of our own. She has all the tools to be a great head coach. She is a great recruiter, a great person who connects well with the kids and she is respected by her colleagues,” said former head coach Len Tsantiris. “The only thing we are missing is a national championship, and I believe that Mags is the one that can get the program back to the top.”