For Wooliver, it was always Saint Mary’s [Soccer]

April 30, 2013

Jesslin Wooliver

Some high school recruits enjoy the process of being courted by colleges, savoring the attention and flirting with multiple schools.

Not Jesslin Wooliver, though.

The 18-year-old from Anchorage settled on Saint Mary’s College of California almost immediately and never swayed, eventually picking the school and signing with NCAA D1 women’s soccer team.

It all started with an email.

“I was like, ‘OK, this sounds great. We’ll stick with this,’ ” she told me, laughing as she recalled the story.

Wooliver, of Service High fame, is an all-state, all-conference midfielder and a 2013 nomination for Gatorade Player of the Year.

She is a four-year varsity player with the Cougars, but it’s not like she didn’t pay her dues early in her career.

When she originally got serious about soccer at age 11, she joined a club team and got kicked with realization that she wasn’t very good.

“I hardly played. I was one of the worse players on the team,” she said. “It was really hard to be that person, so I trained harder than anyone else. I went to other team’s practices because I wanted to be more of a team leader and over time I got better and better.

“I learned early that working hard really does pay off and I think it’s coming together with Saint Mary’s, which is perfect.”

Wooliver admitted to being nervous about making the jump to D1 college soccer and said she is prepared to feel like an overmatched 11-year-old again when she arrives at Saint Mary’s.

But she’s OK with that.

“This is what I’ve worked for,” she said. “I’ll probably be where I was when I started club soccer, but now I know that it’s possible to rise above that.”

The 5-foot-6 midfielder is a sneaky strong player who makes quick, smart decisions with the ball.

“I’m not a dribbler … passing is my best quality I think,” she said. “I’m not super strong, but I’m not going to let anyone push me off the ball easily. I’m definitely aggressive and I’m pretty quick. I’m not super fast. I’m not super tall, but I make quick decisions which makes up for that I think.”