Athlete of the Week: Jade Gifford, women’s soccer

Jade Gifford, junior midfielder, has been an essential offensive component this season for the William Jewell women’s soccer team. Gifford is currently leading the team in shots taken, 46, and has scored four goals. She is also tied for first on the team with three assists. Gifford has started in all 14 games for the team. Over the last five games, she has scored three total goals.

Off of the field, Gifford is studying to become a physical therapist and is majoring in psychology and pre-physical therapy. After gradution, Gifford plans to attend school outside of Missouri and the Midwest to continue her education.

Gifford has been playing soccer since she was five years old. She attended Lee’s Summit North High School in Lee’s Summit, Mo. She came to William Jewell because it was “close to home and offered her a soccer scholarship.” She also loves the small community that Jewell has to offer.

The most influential female athlete to Gifford is Mia Hamm, revered women’s soccer star. The most influential male athlete is Lionel Messi, the famous Barcelona forward.

“Messi can take over and dominate a game with his athleticism. My game is very similar; that’s why I look up to him so much,” Gifford said.

During this season, Gifford realized the importance of making relationships with the members of her team.

“It’s not all about winning. It’s about making connections and building memories with teammates,” Gifford said.

She speaks of the importance of becoming a leader and role model for the newcomers, and is determined to make an impact both on and off-the-field.

As the regular season is quickly coming to an end, Gifford hopes that the team can win every game to reach the postseason. The women are currently ranked eighth, out of sixteen teams, in the GLVC with a record of 5-5-2 in conference play, and a record of 6-5-3 overall.

The team plays the University of Missouri-Science and Technology on Friday, Oct. 24, and Sunday, Oct. 26, against Drury University.

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