Stephanie Burak is in her fifth season as the director of soccer operations with the University of Iowa women’s soccer program.
In four seasons, Burak has helped the program to 42 victories, two NCAA Tournament appearances and the first Big Ten title in school history.
In 2021, Burak helped guide Iowa to a 12-6-2 season and a winning 5-4-1 record in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes advanced to the Big Ten Tournament semifinal with a 1-0 first round victory at Michigan State before falling to Rutgers in Piscataway. Five Hawkeyes earned Big Ten Conference postseason honors. Sara Wheaton was named to the All-Big Ten second team, while Alyssa Walker and Hailey Rydberg picked up third-team honors. Addie Bundy was a unanimous selection on the All-Freshman team and Riley Whitaker was one of 14 players to earn the conference sportsmanship award. The 2021 postseason team marks the first time in 21 years Iowa had three players named to one of the top three All-Big Ten teams. In 2000, Sarah Lynch (first team), Julie Atkocaitis (second team) and Kate Walse each earned all-conference recognition.
Hailey Rydberg, Alyssa Walker and Sara Wheaton were also named to the United Soccer Coaches North Region Third-Team. The all-region honor was the first for all three players and marked just the second time in program history that three Iowa players have been named to an all-region team in the same season. Cloe Lacasse, Melanie Pickert and Alex Melin were recognized in 2013.
The Iowa defense posted seven shutouts and held 18 opponents to two scores or fewer through 20 games, while eleven Hawkeyes contributed to 31 goals on the offensive side of the ball, which ranked third in the Big Ten. On Oct. 14, 2021, Iowa posted a 4-3 victory over Nebraska in which the Hawkeyes came back from a three-score deficit to earn the largest comeback in program history.
On the academic front, 19 Hawkeyes earned Big Ten Fall Academic All-Conference team recognition, matching the school record for the second straight season and the third time in program history.
During the 2020 season, Burak helped the team to its second straight NCAA Tournament berth. After starting the season slowly, the Hawkeyes were playing their best soccer when matter most — in the postseason.
With an expanded Big Ten postseason schedule due to league-only scheduling because of COVID, the Hawkeyes posted wins over second-seeded Illinois and third-seeded Minnesota in the Big Ten Regional weekend. The team followed with a road win at top-seeded Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals before downing third-seeded Wisconsin to claim the program’s first-ever Big Ten title.
The win in Happy Valley was the first for the program in school history and the fourth-ranked Nittany Lions were the highest ranked opponent Iowa defeated all-time. Two freshmen — forward Meike Ingles and goalkeeper Macy Enneking — were named the Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Offensive and Defensive Players, respectively. Ingles scored three-game winners in the tournament, while Enneking posted two shutouts and made 14 saves.
As a result, the Hawkeyes earned their second straight NCAA Tournament berth, and they continued to make history. Shipped to North Carolina, Iowa tallied a 1-0 victory over Campbell — on the Camels’ home turf — to notch the first NCAA Tournament win in the record books. Iowa had third-seeded UCLA on the ropes in the Round of 32 before surrendering two goals late in a 2-1 defeat.
Iowa finished the season with a 7-9-1 record, but all seven of the victories came in the team’s final 10 games. Enneking was a unanimous Big Ten All-Freshman team honoree. Academically, Iowa matched a school record with 19 Academic All-Big Ten selections, eight Hawkeyes were Big Ten Distinguished Scholars, the program had 31 Dean’s List honorees (in fall and spring semesters), and the program earned the United Soccer Team Academic Award, posting a 3.49 team grade point average.
During the 2019 season, Iowa had one of the best seasons in program history. The Hawkeyes opened the season with nine straight wins en route to a No. 17 national ranking, the highest in program history. Iowa tied a school record, winning 15 games, including seven in Big Ten play, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history.
The Hawkeyes tied a school record with three All-Big Ten selections and senior Natalie Winters became the first player in program history to earn postseason recognition in all four seasons. Winters was also an all-region honoree for the second straight season.
Academically, the program shined as Iowa was the only school in the country to have two first-team Academic All-Americans. Iowa also had three United Soccer Academic All-Region and a school-record 19 Academic All-Big Ten selections.
During her first season as a Hawkeye, Burak helped the Hawkeyes to an 8-7-3 overall record and a 4-5-2 mark in Big Ten play. Iowa was in Big Ten Tournament contention until the final game, but fell short after battling Northwestern to a 1-1 draw. Junior Natalie Winters was a third-team all-region and third-team All-Big Ten selection — Iowa’s first all-region honoree since 2014.
Burak also handled much of the logistics for Iowa soccer’s first-ever foreign tour. The Hawkeyes traveled to Germany, Sweden, and Denmark for a 10-day tour in May, 2019.
Burak joined the Hawkeyes following a five-year stint with Athletes in Action in Chicago and Ann Arbor, Michigan. She was a part of AIA’s campus staff and leadership team.
While in Chicago, Burak served in several capacities at Northwestern. She was the compliance and academic services/student development intern in 2016 and a community relations intern in 2015.
She also completed internships with Michigan football (2014-16), San Diego Chargers (2016), and Michigan Bucks (2014).
Burak served as the fundraising chair and competed for the Michigan Women’s Soccer Club and she was the head coach of the Northwestern Women’s Soccer Club Team.
Burak, a native of Brighton, Michigan, graduated from Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in sport management in 2016. She is married to former Iowa wrestling All-American, Nathan Burak and the couple has a daughter, Mercy.