After making improvements to program at SF State, Hamm takes on Kaufman’s legacy
Earlier this month, Tracy Hamm was announced as the new Head Coach for the UC Davis women’s soccer team. Hamm’s hire takes over for former Head Coach Twila Kaufman, who resigned from the position in April. Before leaving, Kaufman led the Aggies for five seasons as head coach. Since her addition in 2014, Kaufman helped to improve the Aggies year after year. In the 2018 season, Kaufman helped lead the team to a 7-8-4 overall and 4-2-2 conference record and advance to the semifinals of the Big West conference tournament for the first time since 2011.
“We were not expecting Coach Kaufman to resign,” UC Davis Director of Athletics Kevin Blue said in a statement to The Aggie. “She made a decision that she believed was in her best interests, and we respect that. Coach Kaufman made a significant positive impact on the program during her time here. The team improved in the Big West standings each year under her direction. We are thankful for her contributions.”
Before her arrival at UC Davis, Hamm was most previously a Head Coach for the San Francisco State women’s soccer program. Having a similar effect to Kaufman, Hamm excelled at SF State as Head Coach, leading the Gators to winning records for the first time since 2002 in her first two years, as well as two 10-win seasons. Under Hamm, the Gators earned their first birth in the California Collegiate Athletic Association tournament for the first time since 2010, where they lost in the semi-finals.
“I think for me I’ve been pretty selective in positions that I have been taking in my coaching career,” Hamm said. “When the opportunity came [at Davis] I just felt like it was really the right fit. I have had a lot of success in my prior programs, and I have been searching for the right fit at the right time with the right institution. UC Davis just checked a lot of boxes for me.”
Hamm’s experience in the sport is extensive, as she played professionally in Women’s Professional Soccer for FC Gold Pride and the Atlanta Beat. Hamm is also one of two American women who possess a United European Football Association “A” Coaching License, mandated by the Union of European Football Associations — just one level shy of a Pro License.
“Coach Hamm is a rising star in college coaching,” Blue said. “She’s extraordinarily well-trained and has seven years of head coaching experience already. She will bring tremendous energy, passion and expertise to the position. Coach Hamm is also a very strong female role model for the student-athletes on our teams.”
Examining her overall coaching strategy over the years, Hamm believes that her approach to coaching is one not normally taken at a collegiate level.
“The way I have led my previous programs is very much player centric as far as I want to know what they think that they need to have to be successful,” Hamm explained. “So for me that is them identifying the positives and negatives of their experiences so far and doing what I can do to try to make some of those weaknesses or negatives, we can turn into positives. So I give my players a lot of autonomy and then push them to where I think that we can go.”
Next season will certainly be an interesting one for the UC Davis women’s soccer program. Coming off one of their most successful seasons in recent years and with Hamm leading the way, there is hope for a bright future for the Aggies.
“I like to win and I think that winning is a product of being prepared, being confident and working hard. But it also those intangibles making sure you create the right team chemistry and team culture,” Hamm said. “It depends how you define success, but I want them [the players] to have a positive experience. For someone who is very competitive I measure success a big part by wins and losses but also take a holistic approach to things. It’s [the overall feeling] excitement and I think that this program is unique and this is a program that has a lot of potential. And that is the first step in creating a successful culture that I want and a culture where everyone is accountable, but enjoying their UC Davis experience.”
Written by: Ryan Bugsch — firstname.lastname@example.org