Sophomore Jessie Ayers left class recently after receiving two text messages and a missed call from her soccer coaches. She thought she was in trouble.
Women’s soccer head coach Geoff Bennett said that this award is a big deal for an athlete at any age and level. And with 18 points this season, Ayers has staked her claim as one of the NCAA’s elite athletes.
“She is super competitive. She may be humble and quiet, but she loves to score and win,” Bennett said. “With every goal, comes an aggressive fist pump.”
Ayers may be competitive, but credits her success to her team.
“I was completely caught off guard by the award,” Ayers said. “It’s extremely rewarding to receive this kind of recognition. It’s really a testament to the things we accomplished as a team this year—winning conference and going to the NCAA tournament.”
Not bad for a girl who first said she wanted to be a baseball player. She even used to collect baseball cards and still has a trunk full of them at home.
“I heard a story about a family finding old cards in their attic that turned out to be worth a fortune,” Ayers said. “I’ve got my fingers crossed.”
Lucky for CC, though, she chose soccer.
Her first soccer team was called the Geckos, which was a group of girls from her elementary school.
“I knew some of them, but I was shy and had never played before so I was terrified of joining the team,” Ayers said. “My dad had to drag me out of the car and onto the field for my first practice. If it had been up to me, I would have never left the back seat of our Subaru. He’s been my inspiration ever since.”
Her inspiration brought her through a successful high school career in Seattle, Wash. Ayers was a two-time, first-team, All-King County selection at Seattle’s Roosevelt High School, according to the CC athletics website. Ayers picked CC as the place to develop her athletic and academic careers because of the school’s environment, the location of Colorado, and the team.
Bennett was drawn to Jessie as a player because of her aggression and her attacking-oriented mind.
“Jessie is very good on the dribble and at taking players on 1v1. We love her tenacity in the final third of the field,” he said. “Those types of players don’t come along very often.”
Bennett described her as an unassuming and quiet person who doesn’t like to bring attention to herself, but who is also a player that everyone notices.
Bennett said that they had a great, fun season, and that Ayers would be the first to tell anyone that she won this award because of her team. He said he hopes to see Ayers continue to grow as an athlete, student and a person.
“If she continues to do things the right way, and with a strict work ethic, then she will reach all of her goals,” Bennett said. “I feel the same about our team. The players want to return to the NCAA’s and win some games once there… they are driven and motivated to succeed, which makes our staff very happy.”
Ayers said that her hopes for herself and her team are synonymous.
“We all want to win conference USA again, and now that we’ve had a taste of the NCAA tournament, we want more,” she said.