Noble Knights: Ryan Roushandel

Aug. 15, 2007

The following story appears in the August edition of KnightVision. Produced 10 times per year, KnightVision is the official publication of the UCF Athletics Asssociation. Each issue includes stories about UCF teams, student-athletes and coaches. To order 10 exciting issues from August through June, call 1-888-877-4373 (ext. 121) or 336-768-3400 (ext. 121).

Ready to Lead

UCF men's soccer standout Ryan Roushandel may be new to the Black & Gold uniform but that doesn't make him any less dedicated to the Knights. After two years at Clemson, the junior midfielder made the decision to transfer prior to the 2006 season. He was sold on UCF on his first visit.

"UCF has all you need to grow as an athlete and as a student," Roushandel said. With Bryan Cunningham taking over as head coach in February, Roushandel knows that he chose the right path. "I believe in his system and the way he leads the team. I know that he will develop me into a better soccer player and a better person both on and off the field."

Making the move to Orlando allowed Roushandel to be reunited with former Clemson teammate James Georgeff, who had transferred in the summer of 2005 and helped Roushandel in the transition. The spring season made the change between head coaches just as easy for Roushandel, Georgeff and the rest of the Knights.

"We had five months and five games to really learn the new system and figure out what was expected of us," said Roushandel. "Having that allows us to be much more comfortable heading into the fall."

Although new to the program himself, Roushandel's experience guarantees that he will be looked upon as one of the team's leaders. It is a role that he accepts.

"I am person who is more likely to lead by example both on and off the field," he said. "I want to push the guys on the field and help them believe in coach Cunningham's system. I also want to show them how to make the right decisions. It is important for them to know that they represent UCF and our team."

Roushandel showed his commitment this past summer as he stayed in game shape by playing with the Atlanta Silverbacks U23's in the Premier Development League. He started all 15 games, recording eight goals and three assists for 19 points, and also served as the team captain.

In 2005, Roushandel scored two goals and added two assists for 19 points, making him the Knights' top returning scorer, and he wants to contribute to the team's offense in any way possible.

"Because I am a midfielder, I'm the one that sets up the plays for other people and helps them find their chances," he said. "We need to take advantage of our opportunities because many times all it takes is one goal to win." Although the team has yet to sit down and outline its goals for the upcoming year, Roushandel knows that he and his teammates are realistic and optimistic about the season.

"The biggest thing for us is improving upon last season," said Roushandel, who advanced to the College Cup with Clemson in 2005. "Of course, we are also looking toward getting to the conference tournament and the NCAA Tournament. Once you are in the NCAA Tournament, anything can happen."

Roushandel holds to the same thoughts when considering his own future. A Spanish major, he would like to stay involved in soccer on some level - whether playing professionally or coaching. With his father Massoud coaching the sport, soccer is really the family business, but the younger Roushandel recently found an interest in law after taking legal studies classes.

Whatever it is that Roushandel decides, he will certainly pursue his personal goals with that same dedication he has shown for UCF soccer.

- Cheryl Flesch