Tiff Faaee made her mark in rugby with a highly-decorated career that included being named captain of a US Eagles team that competed in the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup. She also played for New Zealand and Samoa before coming to New York as the first woman to coach professional rugby in America. She is aware of the significance.
“It’s a huge honor and I pinched myself. I get to be that person to be given this opportunity so I don’t think I’ll ever get over this one.”
Faaee has plenty of experience coaching men including the position of head coach of the men’s team at Monroe College in New York City. However, being part of a professional team now, she realizes people are watching her every move as a trailblazer in the sport.
“There is a bit of pressure I think especially because it’s now opening eyes. It’s important for me how I behave and the outcome is a positive one for other women that will come after me. It’s important that I represent women and show everybody what we’re all about.”
As a player, Faaee was all about talent and toughness, earning worldwide respect from her peers. Now, as a woman coaching men in a professional league, she’s trying to gain the same from her players.
“It’s something that’s at the back of my mind. Even being the captain of the women’s team, I’ve seen coaches struggle with that dynamic of getting all players to buy into the program. Right now, my main focus is building my relationship with the other coaches and then the rest, I feel, will fall into place.”
Faaee hopes to see other women follow her lead and follow their dreams.
“We are here to stay and if there are more opportunities, we will reach our goals.” “I’m just getting a foot in the door and I think it’s just going to improve and grow from here.”
We commend Tiff Faaee for taking on a new challenge in a sport that isn’t well known for integrating women. Like so many other trailblazers, her role will inspire others to follow and lead to more opportunities for women in rugby.