Furman’s top keeper excels in classroom
NOVEMBER 3, 2011
By Summer Woods ‘14, Contributing Writer
Winning is something Jessica Smith has become accustomed to during her four years at Furman, on and off the field.
On the field she is a captain and four-year starter on the women’s soccer team. Off the field she has excelled academically as a chemistry major and plans to attend pharmacy school next fall.
After playing in more than 75 matches and making more than 323 saves, Smith will graduate as one of the most decorated keepers in Furman soccer history. Her 0.98 career goals-against average is the all-time best at Furman, and she is tied for second in Paladin history with 23 career shutouts.
She also garnered second team All-SoCon accolades this season.
As one of eight seniors on the team, Smith looks back fondly on her years at Furman.
“Being on the soccer team has definitely had a tremendous impact on my life and on my time at Furman,” she says. “As I have gotten older, though, I have realized how much being a college athlete has helped me develop as a person – particularly in leadership and time management. When I began starting in goal as a freshman, I was thrown into a leadership position where I was asked to be an example for girls that were for the most part older than me. This was extremely intimidating.”
As if being a Division I athlete isn’t time consuming enough, Smith also excels off the field academically with a 3.964 GPA. She has been a member of the SoCon honor roll every year and was a 2010 Academic All-District III selection. She is also involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the pre-health society and the American Chemical Society, and is a chemistry tutor.
Coach Andrew Burr describes Jessica as “an excellent leader for our soccer program both on and off the field. She has shown the ability to have a balanced collegiate career by being committed to a high level soccer program in addition to maintaining an impressive academic standard. She has had a wonderful career at Furman and I know that she will continue to have success as she goes through life.”
Smith will continue to lead her team in its quest for a Southern Conference title and NCAA tournament appearance this weekend as Furman heads to Greensboro Friday to face top-seeded Samford in the semifinals. The Lady Paladins have a 12-7-2 record.
“As a team we are playing some of our best soccer, and I think we have a great chance of winning SoCon this year,” says Smith. “I know this is especially a huge game for the seniors, because we as a class have never beaten Samford.”
Fans may follow the game through live stats at www.FurmanPaladins.com.