Saving the day
Sophomore goalie keeps team confident
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 01:10
A&M soccer head coach G. Guerrieri has noticed a confidence shift in his team. His team is more ferocious, quicker on the attack. The confidence stems from the trust given to its sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Day, who has allowed only seven goals this season, giving A&M the seventh-best goals-against average in the country.
“If you do not have confidence in your goalkeeper, you’re playing with one eye on your goal,”Guerreri said. “When you know that she’s got it sorted out, you can play with total freedom and that’s what we’ve been doing since last year.”
Yet when asked about her game, Day simply passes on all accolades over to her teammates.
“I would give a lot of credit to my defense,” Day said. “They have been doing a phenomenal job with their shot stopping and area balls and all of that makes my job much easier.”
Born in Chandler, Ariz., Day began playing soccer when she was four years old. Her parents, although not soccer players, believed the game would fit their daughter. Before long, Day was a natural.
During her high school years, Day was the varsity goalkeeper at Basha High School in Gilbert, Ariz. . She saw goals being scored, yet she said she knew she was meant to be a college goalkeeper.
“My high school team didn’t win many games, and I was scored on plenty of times,” Day said. “But I got to learn a lot from the past goals.”
As graduation approached, Day was inundated with offers to play soccer for many schools. Yet on her visit to A&M, she knew this would be the place for her. The environment and the camaraderie between the coaches and players were the main reasons Day felt her choosing to play for the Aggies would not be a mistake.
From the beginning, Day was named the starter for a team looking to go deep in the NCAA Tournament. Day started 19 out of the 21 games played, and posted nine shutouts, six coming against conference opponents. The difference she felt her first year was the immense support from her teammates and the 12th Man.
“It was both nerve-racking and exciting to see so many fans at our games,” Day said. “During high school, you have your parents go, and at most 50 people go, but to come out on Ellis Field and see the thousands of fans is awesome.”
Guerrieri said Day has improved her game in the way that she knows best ¬¬— hard work and extra practice. Guerrieri said when everyone else leaves practice, Day stays behind to improve on her weaknesses.
“She’s very coachable, she’s wanting to do everything she can to improve,” Guerrieri said. “Last year we were having to pull a player from the field to take goal kicks. Now she’s able to hit the ball twice as far, which allows us to start attacks offensively. That comes from hitting thousands and thousands of balls when no one is looking.”
Her weaknesses have decreased and her team is expanding their game to their full potential. With a team confident its goalkeeping is solid, the focus can now shift to attacking and scoring goals. The mentality is noticeable, as the Aggies have scored 33 goals through 15 games this season.
“The mantra is that offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships,” Guerrieri said. “If our defense and goalkeeping can continue to keep us in games, we know we can score goals, we just need to go out to do it.”
This season, the Aggies posted seven consecutive shutouts with Day right in the middle of it. With a salty defense, Day didn’t need to save many shots, but the ones she did were significant.
While the opportunity is there to soak in the glory of posting shutouts and owning a national ranking, Day remains humble and is always praising her teammates while maintaining focus on the next scheduled game.
“I try not to keep track of streaks or stats,” Day said. “I just ask people not to tell me stats because our focus is to win as many games as possible. Playing strong as a team the way we have been, we’ll be able to go pretty far.”