Men's Soccer Senior Salute: Ryan Roushandel

Oct. 31, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - When senior men's soccer player Ryan Roushandel (Atlanta, Ga.) decided to transfer to UCF after his freshman season, he was not sure exactly what to expect. After being named all-conference and all-region, earning a spot on the Conference USA All-Academic team, and scoring 12 goals in three seasons, Roushandel is sure he made the right decision.

"The best decision I've made by far for sure," he said. "I like Clemson and I had a lot of good friends there, but on the soccer team it just didn't work out. I came straight in here and the coaches took me under their wing. I bought into their system and they bought into the way I play. They've taught me how to get better as player, an athlete and a person."

As a junior, Roushandel led the Knights with eight goals and 17 points and was voted onto the All-Conference USA Second Team.

"It has been great having Ryan in the program the last three years," said head coach Bryan Cunningham. "He works extremely hard, has taken care of his body, and has succeeded academically. He has garnered a lot of accolades the last few years, and we will miss his presence in our program."

As a senior captain this season, Roushandel was asked to help the young team by switching to defense, something he was questionable of at first. He knew it was best for the team, and as a player with aspirations of playing professionally, he knew it would help him become a versatile player.

"It has definitely been an experience," Roushandel said. `It is the first time ever that I have ever played defense, but to grow as a player you have to be versatile. It is an experience that has helped me know the defensive side of the ball better and learn the game from a different perspective. Going on from here, it has just added another element to my repertoire."

With a father that has coached youth soccer in the Atlanta area for years, Roushandel does not think his life will ever be without soccer completely.

"Soccer will always be a part of my life, it has been in my family forever," he said. "I am definitely going to try to go pro. It has been my ultimate dream since I can ever remember. I would love to move on to the next level and fulfill my dream of becoming a pro. After that I plan on passing on my knowledge and hopefully coaching a college if I can."

Before moving on, Roushandel will look to help his Knights finish strong this season. With six wins this season, the Knights equaled the win total from 2006 and their three conference wins are tied for the most since the program joined C-USA.

"It is not a right that we get to do this every single day, it is a privilege," Roushandel said. "Just being able to spend time with the guys every single day is the best part. I just want to win as many as we can the rest of the way."

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.