Yale Athletics

Following the departure of Brendan Faherty, Sarah Martinez will assume the position of head coach of the women’s soccer team, effective immediately.

Two weeks prior, Faherty left his post amid allegations of impropriety with his former players at the University of New Haven. Martinez started at Yale this past year as an assistant coach for the team that took home third place in the Ivy standings. She came to Yale from Stony Brook University, where she coached for three years with Faherty. Prior to Stony Brook, she was part of the coaching staff at the University of Washington, her alma mater.

“Sarah’s remarkable success as a student-athlete — including as captain and MVP — has helped fuel her even more successful coaching career,” Yale Athletics Director Vicky Chun said. “As the … head coach of women’s soccer at Yale University, we are confident Sarah will continue to grow and build our program, and our players, for years to come.”

Martinez’s expertise as a coach can be credited to her experience as a player. She is originally from Seattle and had her own successful college soccer career at the University of Washington. During her time as a Husky, her team made three NCAA Tournament appearances. Martinez was named Offensive Team MVP in her junior and senior seasons and was chosen as team captain. As a senior, she was named to the All-Pac 12 second team. In her four years at the University of Washington, she won the athletic department’s Most Inspirational Female Athlete Award twice.

Her love for the sport continued after graduation, immediately taking a position on the University of Washington coaching staff as the director of soccer operations for both the men’s and women’s teams. After four seasons, Martinez traveled east to Stony Brook University to fill the position of assistant coach. In 2016 and 2018, she was recognized as part of the America East Coaching Staff of the Year.

“It became clear immediately after Sarah joined our program last year how much she would add,” captain and goalkeeper Alyssa Fagel ’20 said. “She is always the person on the field with the most energy and dedicates an endless amount of time to better this program. I am so sad to be graduating before her chapter as the head coach of Yale women’s soccer begins, but I am confident that she is going to do a great job and take this team a long way.”

Martinez’s first season at Yale proved to be one for the books. The Bulldogs ended their year with 11 wins — their most since the 2005 season — and 31 goals. The Elis also ended the season ranked third in the Ivy League standings, trailing only Brown and Harvard.

This past fall, Martinez and other coaching staff emphasized mental focus and the importance of every individual match. Led by six talented seniors, the team worked to cultivate a positive mindset and improve every aspect of their play. This coaching strategy paid off as the Bulldogs celebrated their best season in recent years. Martinez emphasized that losing the graduating seniors and taking in a new class of first years will be both exciting and challenging; in college athletics, the identity of the team changes each season. Mostly, however, she said she is excited to engage with passionate players and coaches alike.

“This new role comes with so much excitement for me personally and all of that excitement stems from the group of players we have in our locker room,” Martinez said. “It’s a special group in their ability to learn, be coached and their passion for Yale Women’s Soccer. From the day I got here last January, this group has been eager to learn and grow, so having the opportunity to continue to impact in any way the trajectory of the program means the world to me.”

Martinez becomes the seventh head coach in Yale women’s soccer history.

Alessa Kim-Panero | alessa.kim-panero@yale.edu