Scoring Another Year
In 2020, COVID-19 put a hold on life and changed the way our society operates. We missed weddings, concerts, sporting events and more but luckily the NCAA is granting seniors, such as Arizona State University's Jessica Hale, a chance to get their final year back.
Hale grew up in Arizona and began playing soccer when she was three years old. She continued to play throughout high school where she and her fellow teammates at Desert Vista won the state championship her junior year.
After high school, Hale brought her talent to ASU because she felt that the soccer program, facilities and school gave her everything she needed "to be successful."
During Hale's first three years at ASU, also known as pre-COVID, some of her favorite memories of being on the team included traveling and exploring cities with her teammates, locker room chats and games, and seeing the fans and her parents in the stands of the Sun Devil Soccer Stadium. However the pandemic caused the 2020-2021 soccer season to pause the social activities and games that the team was used to. As it was supposed to be Hale's fourth and final season at ASU, she was especially disappointed that her parents weren't able to attend all of her games.
When the NCAA announced that they were going to allow seniors to stay another year Hale explained that one of the biggest factors that led her to take advantage of the opportunity was her development throughout her years in the soccer program and her hunger to play to her full potential.
"I want one more year, you know, because it took me a while to develop into the player that I am today now that I'm ready, it's like I definitely want to keep playing," Hale said.
Hale also said that, "I struggled a lot, especially in the beginning years when I wasn't playing, I didn't think I was good enough. I didn't think I had the skill or the talent. But then fast forward to where I am now I did have it. I just didn't believe in myself."
Next year, Hale is looking forward to bonding with her teammates, being back at the Sun Devil Soccer Stadium, seeing her parents at all of her games and continuing the new season with the same "positive note" that the team left off of last year following the most successful season the team has had since Hale came to ASU.
"I think the biggest thing that I learned over my four years here is that the only thing that matters is you believing in yourself. You won't succeed if you don't believe in yourself," said Hale.
In addition to continuing her soccer career, Hale will also be continuing her academic career and pursuing her masters degree next year.