The life of an average athlete is very strenuous, from handling practice to juggling school and trying to keep up with all things popular. Now imagine cranking that dial up three notches and having no time for yourself or even family and friends and being exhausted with every move you make. This is the life of a student-athlete, more specifically, sophomore-goalie Jade Wilkins.
Soccer has been a part of Wilkins’ life since the young age of eight. Soccer was not the only sport that captured this young woman’s heart. Prior to taking up soccer, Wilkins was a cheerleader for the Maryland Twisters alongside her big sister. “I was just [kinda] following my sister, and when she dropped out I did too,” Wilkins explained. Wilkins’ love for soccer comes from a familiar place as her dad was once a soccer player as well.
Growing up in Pasadena, MD there were a number of sports for Wilkins to be a part of once she reached high school. Not only was she a part of her school’s soccer team she also played on the basketball team. When asked about her position with basketball, Wilkins said, “They had me at guard, I don’t really know why because I can’t shoot.” As she laughed at her comment she proceeded to mention that she felt basketball was a great sport for conditioning.
Every person has their own hurdles and struggles when it comes to playing a sport. Wilkins is no different as she talked about how they would have week to week scheduling and transitioning to a new team that created a more intense environment with traveling being a part of it. Wilkins embraced this with extreme excitement, “I loved everything about it from traveling to meeting players. [I] loved every moment of it,” Wilkins exclaimed.
One other major hurdle was the choosing of her college. Wilkins explained that she knew that when she was picking her school she had to make sure this would be the right decision not for soccer but for her education. “I knew that my number one going into college had to be my career,” Wilkins stated. “I knew outside of college I wasn’t going to be a professional soccer player, I had to be realistic with myself,” she continued.
Wilkins’ sense of realism in how she goes about things can be accredited to her parents. Wilkins explained that her parents would sit her down and explain how she could try this or that but drove home that she had to be realistic and not get over-invested in something that is not long term. Wilkins stated that her parents “always had realistic conversations” with her and it always gave her the mindset of questioning the decision before going all in.
Off of the soccer field, Wilkins explained that she is a bit of a “school nerd” and that school things always excite her. “When you get me in a school environment or something that is really cool, I geek out,” Wilkins proclaimed. With a gleam of light in her eye and a huge grin that came across her face, Wilkins began to tell a story of her time working in a chemistry class in which she had a cool science experiment that she happily explained to her aunt.
Wilkins also likes to help out with school events when it fits her schedule and tries to help out as much as she can. Wilkins also has a special place in her heart for romantic movies that have a happy ending. She also has a tremendous love for Spongebob, as this was her favorite childhood television show growing up.
As an engineering major, Wilkins is not sure of exactly what she wants to do but feels that with talks from her professors she will figure out her career goals. With Wilkins’ determined work ethic and good nature, it will not be long before she finds her career and takes it to new heights no one has ever seen before.