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October 14, 2021

Monmouth University’s Jess Johnson on What Sets Athletes above Non-Athletes

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**Athlete Interviews are posted every Thursday for recruiting advice, what to look for, and more.  

Jess Johnson joined the Monmouth Hawks soccer team in 2016, where she made an immediate impact on the team. Jess was the 2018 MAAC Defensive Player of the Year and was on the United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-East Region First Team two years in a row. Jess completed her career playing in 74 games for the Hawks while starting in 59 games. On top of all her athletic and academic success, Jess was elected to the Monmouth University Executive Board for MSAAC (Monmouth Student-Athlete Advisory Committee) as President for the 2019-20 school year. She was a two-time team captain and is Monmouth University’s first recipient of the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

Related school rating: Monmouth University

Jess offers advice to high school athletes, suggesting that they “constantly reach out” to coaches and “don’t take any second, day, or time for granted.”

She says getting to the college level is about “work[ing] as hard as you possibly can from the moment you decide you want to play in college.”

While her goal was to play college soccer, her college search was as much about academics as athletics. Hoping to major in social work, Jess was determined to find a school that had a social work program and “a degree that is really meaningful” to her.

A two-time captain, Jess touches on leading by example, always putting in 110% even on a bad day, respecting teammates, and communicating with coaches and teammates.

When asked what she would do differently, Jess said she would’ve listened to her coach more from the beginning:

“She told me over and over again, countless times, ‘You’re not fit enough. You need to be running more. You need to be a lot fitter to play. I won’t put you out there if you don’t pass tests’ and she wasn’t BSing me, she was very serious about it, and she was serious because she wanted me on the field… I always thought… she just wants to put me through the worst part of hell she possibly can… but she wanted me to be able to push myself to that next level.” 

Jess says being a college athlete has set her up for success because the time management skills she’s learned as a college athlete are matched by none.

Watch the whole video to catch the one meal Jess will never eat before a game, and what superpower she wishes she could have to change the game of college women’s soccer.

Photo source: Monmouth University Athletics

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