The Orlando Pride signed two former Knights as National Team Replacement players, Midfielder Bridget Callahan and Forward Christine Creighton. Trace Trylko, co-host on UCF Knightline, recently sat down with Christine Creighton and Orlando Pride Head Coach, Tom Sermanni to talk about the relationship between the club and the college.
Firstly, when Christine Creighton was asked her thoughts on playing alongside some the the game's greats she said, "It was pretty crazy the first day when I stepped in."Christine says early on she was pretty wowed, but now she’s settled in. “Being here has taught me a lot, learned a lot from them already in just a month and a half or so.”
Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni likes what he sees from Creighton. Here's what he had to say about the recently signed replacement player, "With Christine, she is a slightly different kind of player, she’s a bit more physically oriented, big, robust, powerful, she can make an impact in that regard.”
Christine spent her first two years in college at Tennessee. She scored three goals in 27 games with the Vols, before transferring to UCF. There she found her footing and notched three goals in 23 games.
But it’s a whole new ballgame being within the NWSL ranks. “The speed of play is a lot quicker, how fast the ball comes and how quick you have to be to be able to receive it and keep moving, that constant level is there the whole game.”, said Creighton when asked about the differences from the collegiate level.
Christine values her playing days at UCF and all she learned from Knights’ Head Coach Tiffany Roberts-Sahaydak. She spoke fondly when asked about her former Coach, “She has a lot of experience at the national college level, she’s won an Olympics and a World Cup, just learning from her, she knows different ways to bring things out based on their skill sets.”
Coach Sermanni says Coach Roberts-Sahaydak knows how to prepare players, “It’s about her coaching, her management, which are both first class and the way she has the team playing, she likes to play an attractive brand of soccer, she’s well established in the program, has a good eye for recruiting.”
Christine takes pride in being one of the first UCF players to put on an Orlando Pride jersey, “Actually, I did not know that, but now that you mentioned it, that’s actually pretty cool. I definitely like this connection, it’s good for the professional team, for when international players are out, they can bring in players from close by, also for the college players to see to be able to get that experience at this level, and see if this is what they really want, and if they do they have the opportunity to show what they’ve got and get to that level themselves.”
Coach Sermanni likes having a very successful collegiate Women’s Soccer program like UCF’s in his own back yard, “It’s great for us, they’re right next door, they’re here, so the players are 15-20 minutes away to come in for training, great relationship with Tif, she’s unbelievably supportive, those relationships are really, really critical to us.”
Meantime, Christine is focused on contributing as a National Team Replacement player and growing as a player. Trace asked her, “Still a bit of a wow factor or you feel you can hang with them?" Christine responded confidently, "I feel like I can hang with them, I feel like I still have a lot to learn, a lot to grow, but I feel like I can learn from them, but also show what I have.”
Christine graduates soon with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, that’s basically three majors in one, with a focus on Elementary Education. It would seem Christine is well positioned to succeed on and off the pitch.