It takes a certain mettle, a certain resilience to be a goalkeeper. The pressure is phenomenal, and the more advanced the team, the greater the sense of responsibility. It was my pleasure to interview rising star and goalkeeper of the Houston Dash, Jane Campbell. No ordinary athlete, rumors have her pegged as the possible replacement for Hope Solo (the pressure builds)! But Jane doesn’t let the speculation phase her. She’s focused, determined and has some good advice for those that want to be where she is one day. I have accented some key points, but I’ll let Jane speak for herself:
- Jane, you’ve been playing soccer for years, and you’re only 22. What got you started and please describe the moment you realized you wanted to play soccer for a living.
I always played sports as a kid and through high school and college. I just stuck with soccer because I seemed to be good at it and I had fun playing. I told my dad when I was 8 that I had a dream with soccer and that’s when I knew I wanted to make something of it.
- The position of goalkeeper has to be the most stressful place on the field. What happens when you see your opponents charging towards you? Do you have stress-relieving secrets?
No, it’s not really stressful, it’s just part of the game. There are always ups and downs to every game. My job is to just keep everyone as calm and organized as we can during those times and find a way to score when the momentum turns our way.
- Describe a typical day-in-the-life for your fans. They like details! What time do you get up; do you go to Starbucks, how long do you train?
I get up at 7:40, eat breakfast and show up to practice at 8:30. I ALWAYS go to Starbucks, usually right after practice. Practice usually runs around an hour and a half. We train early so we can try and beat the Houston heat.
- Jane, you are obviously more than a talented athlete – you’re smart. Both your parents were college athletes and Navy pilots, and you’re a Stanford graduate yourself. How would you advise a young person contemplating sports combined with higher education?
My advice for anyone looking at playing college soccer at an elite university would be that time management is everything. Don’t stress yourself with too much school, or too much soccer; always try and have a balance.
- What has been the highest point in your soccer career? Your lowest point? Did you ever want to quit?
I don’t want to say I’ve ever had “the highest point” in my career because I hope I will continue to grow and learn every day. A very memorable moment in my career was getting my first cap with the Women’s National Team in Houston in March. That was incredible. A low point that I’ve had was being benched for the start of my pro season and being benched for the U-20 USWNT. Although it was awful not to be playing during those times, I’ve learned so much from them and am very thankful I was put in those positions. No, I have never wanted to quit.
- Describe being part of Houston Dash in just one word.
- What is your go-to breakfast?
Before practice, I have 3 hard-boiled eggs, a turkey roll, and a bottle of water.
- Do you have favorite shoes for the pitch? When you aren’t playing, how would you describe your fashion style?
No, no favorites, just the cleats I’ve been wearing (magistas). I’d definitely like to think I have an athletic type of fashion style. I love crew socks and I love shoes, so I always try to have some sort of matching combo when I dress.
- Which part of training do you like the least?
I always love training, regardless of what the session is. I get bummed when the keepers aren’t included in some things, we always get kicked to the curb, but that’s okay, we have our own fun :).
- How do you relax? Are you guilty of binge-watching any particular show/series?
I love getting coffee and going to the mall. I relax by just hanging at home. My TV show currently is The Real World: The Challenge.
- Why are most of your Instagram pictures in black and white?
I just thought it’d be fun to have a theme. I’ll switch it up again sometime soon.
- From whom/what do you draw encouragement/strength?
I draw encouragement from my parents and my brother. Without them, I wouldn’t be half the player and person I am today, so it’s really because of them. They’re the only people I think about when I play.
- Female soccer players can be just as rough and tumble as men. Have you experienced foul play (kicks, hits, etc.)?
Sure, foul play is part of the game! In the heat of the moment, it seems not too bad; but maybe, looking back on some moments, it’s best to take the high road…(ha!)
- Who is your all-time favorite soccer player?
Honestly, I don’t really have an all time favorite. The easiest answer is Messi because it’s Messi.
- If your soccer dream comes true, what does it look like? What do you say to those who think you will replace Hope Solo? If suddenly you could no longer play soccer, what would be your dream job?
Being with the US Women’s National Team, winning an NWSL championship, the whole 9 yards. Hope Solo will go down as one of the greatest keepers to ever play the game, US or international. My dream, playing wise, is to be the best player I can, to be the best Jane Campbell I can, every day. If I didn’t play soccer, I would love to be involved in sports somehow, whether that’s personal training, coaching, sports psych…anything in sports.
- What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I used to do ballet for 8 years.
- What is the best advice you would give that 10-year-old girl that wants to be you? What would you tell her is the secret of being a great goalie?
The best advice I’d give is always finding the fun in everything you’re doing and never be afraid to smile. Too many people get caught up in sports being so serious, just have fun and play and don’t be afraid to try something new.
Thanks for sharing, Jane. You spread a little sunshine throughout the soccer world today!
Photos courtesy of Jane Campbell. This was an exclusive (online) interview conducted by Julia Valentine for Soccity.