What started with oranges at half time and miniature goals has turned into college recruitment for seniors Jennifer Kendall and JBess Ruby.
The two not only played together on a Birmingham Blazers U8 team, but have also played the last three years of Varsity soccer at Seaholm.
As captains for their senior years, the pair is looking forward to signing letters of intent from Division 1 and Division 2 schools for college soccer.
Kendall has had a verbal commit to Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado for a month now.
With a verbal commit, Kendall is waiting for a letter of acceptance from the school in order to sign. Until then, she is continuing to look at other schools, including Michigan Tech and Oakland University.
“I am most likely going to sign with Colorado. That’s my number one choice,” Kendall said. “It’s a really great school and really just seems like it’s a good fit.”
Kendall has previously played soccer twice at summer elite ID camps at the Colorado School of Mines, which are camps for serious players interested in collegiate level play. Her second year at the camp was when the recruitment really started, and Kendall began to feel at home within the school.
“Once I got there and was in the environment I realized, oh this is definitely the place I want to be,” Kendall said. “I could see myself playing with these girls. I could do well at the school and with soccer.”
A major draw for Kendall to Colorado was the education factor. The Colorado School of Mines has one of the top engineering schools in the country, an attraction for Kendall.
“A big thing for me was school first, then soccer,” Kendall said.
College soccer had always been on Kendall’s radar. It was not until Seaholm that Kendall realized the potential she had to play.
“It was definitely my freshmen year that it hit me that I wanted to play college soccer,” Kendall said. “Then my junior year Coach Manuel Rodriguez really prepared me. He put a lot of confidence in me, and was like you can go play at any school you want to.”
Kendall has been a powerhouse member of Seaholm’s team in all of her three years, specifically last season, according to Rodriguez.
“She was All District, All League, and she had twelve goals, eight assists, thirty-three shots,” Rodriguez said.
After years of playing soccer, Kendall is ready for the challenge of college soccer.
“Jen is great at getting up the sidelines and creating great scoring opportunities,” teammate Savannah Wiseman said.
Oranges at half time are no where to be found in collegiate play, however along with Kendall, Ruby is also set on the track for college soccer.
“I think they will both exceed expectations in college,” teammate Hannah Haley said. “They built themselves to the top in soccer here and they will do it again wherever they go.”
Ruby is in the process of debating between Central Michigan University and the University of Evansville, with a slight lean towards Evansville.
“I met with the team at Evansville and because it is a lot smaller I could get individual help,” Ruby said. “But I really like the coaching staff at Central.”
A gifted athlete, according to Rodriguez, Ruby will do great in college.
“She sees the game very well, a perfect player for center forward,” Rodriguez said.
Unlike Kendall, Ruby decided to continue playing soccer in college only at the end of last season, much later than most girls.
“It was at the end of last high school season I realized I didn’t know what I would do if I didn’t play, so I realized I just have to play,” Ruby said. “Over the summer I was in contact with different coaches and went to six different ID camps.”
Ruby will need to make her decision in the next couple weeks.
“Both schools are kind of waiting for a decision,” Ruby said. “I think it’s just getting down to where I can see myself, not only playing soccer, but also just going to school.”
Regarded as a leader on the field by herself, Ruby had sixteen goals, fifteen assists, and seventy-three shots last year.
“JBess is great at making turns and getting a quality shot off from awkward angle,” Wiseman said.
The two both have big expectations of their final Maple season as they hope to win something, and big expectations for their future.
“Both of them are more than capable of playing at a high level,” Wiseman said. “I think they will fit in and have a great time wherever they go.”