By: Kayla Menkes
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with HSE senior Jessica Garziano. Already committed to play Division 1 soccer at St. John’s University, Jessica was recently named an All-American. Her tenacity on and off the field does not go unnoticed, and it was a lot of fun getting to know her a little bit better.
Thunderbird: When did you start playing soccer?
Jessica Garziano: I started playing soccer when I was 5 years old for HBC.
TB: How many different teams have you played on? Have you had a favorite? If so why?
JG: I played on three different teams which consisted of HBC, ISA, and SUSA. My favorite is SUSA now because I’m at the age where I appreciate every second of the sport since you never know when it’ll all be over. I made everlasting friendships that mean the world to me, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
TB: What year did you start playing Varsity soccer at East?
JG: I started playing Varsity soccer as a freshman here at Hills East, and it has been an unforgettable journey. I learned so much from all the players throughout the years which made me a better player and person overall.
TB: What do you consider your biggest achievement while being on Girls Varsity Soccer at East?
JG: I consider my greatest achievement going to County Finals with my teammates. We knew coming into the season that we were losing big players, and we had to make up for that. Every day we put in the work. Being an essential motivator of the teams’ work ethic was a different role I had to take up since I was now a senior, and I wouldn’t change anything I did to help us get to that point.
TB: How was it balancing your schoolwork and soccer over the course of your Hills East soccer career?
JG: I think balancing the work was the easiest part. Having a schedule every day and knowing the times you have to get your school work done by in order to make your soccer practice is easier for me overall. I know a lot of my friends like to procrastinate and have nothing to do all night other than homework. I look forward to a night packed with homework and soccer since I’m able to get both done efficiently.
TB: Where will you be playing for the next four years?
JG: I have decided to spend my next four years playing soccer at Division 1 St. John’s University. Picking a college as a sophomore was a very difficult task, but I wouldn’t change a thing about the college process. I am very happy with my choice and am looking forward to all that St. John’s has to offer, both on and off the field.
TB: How far into the future do you see yourself playing soccer?
JG: I always dreamt of playing on the national team as a kid. Considering the hours of work I have put in, I expect from myself nothing less than that. I would love to play professionally after college and am looking forward to hopefully having that opportunity. I have been involved in US National Team Camps over the years and look forward to continuing my soccer journey.
TB: What does it mean to be an All-American Soccer Player, in general?
JG: Being an All- American is such a huge accomplishment. It means that all the hard work you put in over the years is being rewarded. It means coaches are respecting your talent and love for the game.
TB: What does being an All-American Soccer Player mean to you specifically?
JG: This means the world to me. After hours and hours of training on my own and striving for success, I can see a small glimpse into my future. This award means that I’m being recognized for my work ethic and drive when playing the game I love. Receiving this shows how even when people don’t believe in you, there’s always room to prove them wrong. As a player, I was always told I was too small to make it. My relentlessness to never give up is the reason why I got myself to the point to be awarded this. And I am so thankful that I never stopped doing what I loved and will continue to love.
Photo courtesy of Anthony Garziano