Tricia Taliaferro has been a part of Illinois soccer since its inception. She served as an assistant for the team's first two seasons before being named the head coach. Since then, she has guided the Illini through the best seasons in the program's history.
In her three years at Illinois, Taliaferro has compiled a 38-24-3 record. Under her guidance, the Illini played in their second consecutive NCAA Tournament in 2001 and as well as finishing third in the Big Ten and taking runner-up honors at the Big ten Tournament. Taliaferro has coached six Big Ten All-Conference athletes and has had six players named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team. She has also coached two U-21 pool players.
Under Coach Taliaferro, Illinois reached its highest ranking ever -- No. 15 in the nation, reached the Big Ten Tournament semifinals, posted seven shutouts (four in a row) in 1999, and won its first ever NCAA Tournament contest in 2000. Along with finishing third in Big Ten regular season action, the Illini upset Michigan to earn a berth in the Big Ten tournament title match, which aired on Fox Sports Chicago.
Taliaferro's peers note her passion for the game. She also has a special interest in the University of Illinois since her father, Mike, quarterbacked the Illini to a 1964 Rose Bowl victory.
Taliaferro's teams are noted for their aggressive, attacking style offense. Her teams are usually quick and well disciplined. In 2001, the Illini finished second in the Big Ten in shots, goals scored and goals per game average. "Tricia is not only an outstanding young coach and excellent recruiter, but her loyalty to the University of Illinois runs deep," said Director of Athletics Ron Guenther. "We are pleased to have her in a leadership position as our soccer program makes another significant step forward."
A United States Soccer Federation 'B' Licensed Coach, who also holds a National Youth License, Taliaferro came to Illinois from the Soccer Academy, Inc. in Manassas, Va., where she served as a senior instructor under former National Team assistant coach John Ellis. During her time at the academy, Taliaferro traveled throughout the United States teaching technical and tactical methods to players at clinics in preparation for the Olympic Development Programs (ODP). Additional responsibilities at the academy included coaching at residential and day camps for youth and adult teaching sessions. She also assisted youth head coaches, holding sessions on how to run efficient practices. At Maryland, Taliaferro was a four-year starter from 1992-95. During her senior year, she led the Terps to the program1s most successful season in school history and the team's first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament in 1995. The Terps finished second in the ACC Tournament in '95 to No. 1 ranked and eventual NCAA champion North Carolina, falling, 3-0. Maryland, ranked No. 9 at the time, received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Regional finals before losing to No. 2 ranked and national runner-up Portland.
Maryland finished the '95 season with an 18-6 overall record and was ranked No. 6 in the final ISAA poll. While at Maryland, Taliaferro played for April Heinrichs, who is currently serving as the head coach of the U.S. women's National Team.
Additional team accomplishments included the Terps opening the '95 season with a school-record eight consecutive victories and recording a program-best four ACC victories. The team's back-to-back victories over No. 15 Clemson and No. 9 North Carolina State in the ACC Tournament marked the first time in the 10-year history of the program that Maryland defeated ranked teams in consecutive games. Against North Carolina State in the ACC Tournament semifinals, Taliaferro scored the game's only goal to boost the Terps to the finals. One of the top attacking defenders in the ACC, Taliaferro earned Maryland's Most Valuable Player award in 1994 after leading the Terps in scoring and totaling a career-best 14 points. She also was named the MVP of the 1994 George Mason/Lanzera Invitational Tournament. Taliaferro was a member of the Soccer Academy United squad which won the 1996 women's open national championship. She also played for the Baltimore Bays in the United States Women's Independent Soccer League from 1993-94. A native of Dallas, Texas, Taliaferro helped lead the Dallas Sting Soccer Club to the 1990 and 1991 Dallas Cup Championships. Her team also won the state championship and finished second at Regionals in 1989. Taliaferro earned a bachelor1s degree in criminal justice from Maryland in 1995.
Taliaferro resides in Champaign. Her favorites include: Favorite TV Show: Law and Order; Favorite Event Attended as a Spectator: World Cup Final in Los Angeles; Favorite Athlete: Her Father, Mike; Advice to Young Soccer Players: Play the game because you love it!; Nickname: Tolly; What I'm Passionate About Outside of Soccer: My dogs, mountain biking and snowboarding; Superstitions: drinking a Diet Coke in each half of the game; Favorite Quote: "Failure is not if you try and fall but if you don't get up again." -Evel Knievel.
The Tricia Taliaferro File