New Year, Same Ol’ All-American Athlete
Put yourself back in your 20-year-old mindset...
What was your New Year’s resolution...? Apply yourself more...? Travel to a different country...? Let go of the past and start fresh...? How about break your university’s record in the sport you play...? Receive the All-American award, for a third time...? Finish your Senior year strong...?
Columbus State University’s Olivia Jarrell is more than ready to take that head-on. After another strong season, CSU's Lady Cougars Soccer Team finished with a 16-4 record in a loss in the Region Final. Despite the loss, the Lady Cougars racked up multiple accolades spanning from team awards to many individual players getting what they probably always dreamed of since they were young.
The Lady Cougars earned the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award back in October. Then, four Lady Cougars last month: Olivia Jarrell, Tehgan Anguilm, Riley Clark and Cassandra Wade were named to the United Soccer Coaches All-Southeast Region team.
The success didn’t stop there...
Clark gained Academic All-America Status, Hugrun Elvarsdottir and Brooke Nail were named to the United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-South Region Team, and Olivia Jarrell garnered her second All-American accolade this past season. This sealed Jarrell as the 5th player in the university’s history to gain All-America honors in the course of multiple seasons. And, remember, the Lady Cougars played in the National Championship only two years ago.
Jarrell heads into Senior year on the brink of setting up something truly special. This past season, she was 1 goal and 4 points away from breaking CSUs all-time career mark.
“Yeah it would have been awesome to reach that record as a Junior, but it’s making me even more excited to play my senior season,” Jarrell told me. What’s even more remarkable, or unfortunate-depending on how you look at it, is that the Women’s Soccer team missed 3 games due to the hurricanes that came through this past year.
Anything can happen at any given moment, I’m aware of that, but it’s safe to say that with those games, Jarrell was set to break that record in addition to having one more year to go.
As a rising Senior, Jarrell’s journey from childhood to now has been one of a roller coaster of excitement and passion. “I started playing soccer when I was 7 years old, at the recreational level, then started playing club soccer, more competitive with more experienced players at the age of 11 [in middle school] and I’ve been playing and loving it ever since.”
Any child-athlete had those specific dreams come into his or her mind to play at the college level, to be on television, and/or to make it big in the pros. Talking about her transition from high school to Columbus State, Jarrell admitted that “...coming in as a freshman to a good collegiate program was definitely intimidating, and it was going to be difficult, but my goal was to start and play in the games. I didn’t know my coach, Jay Entlich, and he didn’t really know me that well, so I had to come in confident and ready to show him what I can contribute.”
Judging from all the praise I mentioned earlier, she made her impression.
Now, coming to a bittersweet moment in her soccer career, Jarrell commented on what her mindset is now that she’s on the top of the roller coaster looking down on the Freshman Lady Cougars coming in to make a name for themselves.
“As a freshman, I looked up to the upperclassmen for guidance on just about anything. They showed me right from wrong on and off the field. Going into my senior season, I am hoping to shed the same knowledge that I received onto them and help them find their way.”
Probably the best thing about the conversation I had with Jarrell is noticing the focus she has. Her athleticism and commitment, along with the rest of the Lady Cougars I imagine, remains the same each year. They tackle each season head-on and keep doing what they do best. Most articles I read, or even watching reporters from ESPN talking to head coaches in between seasons or games, always include a plan about how “they’ll do things differently and get them next time.”
To top off the conversation we had, which you can see our full conversation below, I asked, “So, I think I'm about good, is there anything else you would like to say...? Anything I missed...?” hoping to see if there was something along the lines of, “Well maybe we’ll play against teams more ferociously” or, “Yeah, I struggled here but I’m making adjustments.” To which she said bluntly, “Like I said, I am really excited to kick off my Senior season and make history.”
New year, same ol’ All-American athlete...
A conversation with Olivia Jarrell
1) So, how long have you been playing soccer?
I started playing soccer when I was 7 years old, at the recreational level, then started playing club soccer, more competitive with more experienced players at the age of 11 [in middle school] and I’ve been playing and loving it ever since. So about 13 years...
2) When you first went to Columbus State as a freshman, what was going through your mind? Did you picture any of this happening? Has this experience exceeded what you first thought coming in?
Coming in as a freshman to a good collegiate program was definitely intimidating, and it was going to be difficult, but my goal was to start and play in the games. I didn’t know my coach, Jay Entlich, and he didn’t really know me that well, so I had to come in confident and ready to show him what I can contribute. I did not picture my college soccer experience being so successful and the most fun I’ve experienced within a team and life. CSU soccer has exceeded all my expectations and more. It has been a learning experience in soccer and has help prepared me for life beyond soccer as well.
3) What are some of your stats from your time on the team so far & what stands out to you in your career?
2-time All-American (2016-17), 3-time Peach Belt All-Conference (2015-17), PBC Freshman of the Year (2015), PBC Tournament MVP (2016), receiving the All-American award twice was a huge accomplishment for me.
4) Talk to me about your recent season, I believe you guys missed three games, is that true...?
We had a lot of new freshman on our team (13) so we had to figure out how each person was going to fill their role on the team but, sadly we had to miss 3 games in a row due to the hurricane that came through.
5) I bring that up because you're only 1 goal and 4 points shy of CSUs all-time career mark... not to mention you have Senior year still. Excited...?
Yeah, it would have been awesome to reach that record as a Junior, but it’s making me even more excited to play my senior season.
6) All right, so what's this about All-American, United Soccer Coaches All-Southeast Region team, United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award, should I stop...?
All-Region are the best players in the region voted by coaches, All-American is based off performance during the season. CSU has received 60 All-Region, and 16 All-American accolades throughout the years. And it’s an incredible feeling to be a part of CSU history...
7) Cliché question: But, how is it being on top of the roller coaster as a Junior- and then Senior- with the younger athletes coming in?
As a freshman, I looked up to the upperclassmen for guidance on just about anything. They showed me right from wrong on an off the field. Going into my senior season, I am hoping to shed the same knowledge that I received onto them and help them find their way.
8) So, I think I'm about good, is there anything else you would like to say...? Anything I missed...?
Like I said... I am really excited to kick off my senior season and make history.