In Their Own Words: Lauren Jackson

Oct. 2, 2008

Once again during the 2008 season, members of the Kansas soccer team will share their thoughts in the first person. Today sophomore defender Lauren Jackson provides her insights on what the team needs to do to overcome its recent struggles.

Jackson has grown a lot in the past year. While starting five matches and playing in 13 contests as a freshman, the 5-foot-5 defender couldn’t seem to stay healthy. This year, Jackson has started all 10 matches and played 836 of the team’s 916 minutes.

On the difference between the 2008 and 2007 Jayhawks:

“I think the biggest difference is that we have confidence that we can score enough goals to beat people. There was a lot more pressure on us (last year), when we weren’t scoring early in the year. It is a lot more frustrating as a defender if we’re not scoring goals.”

On what the team needs to do to get two wins this weekend:

“Since we started out so well, I think we got a little overconfident (the past few weeks). I think we might have underestimated (Loyola and Nebraska) a little bit. We just need to focus. We need everybody to focus; it has to be a team effort. I don’t think Coach (Francis) can really do anything; we’re the ones who are on the field and have to put it on ourselves. It comes down to our mentality going into the game.”

On her group of defenders:

“I notice that we’re definitely young. I don’t know for sure, but I feel like we’re one of the youngest back lines in the Big 12 (starting three sophomores and a junior). Which can be a good thing, because I think we play pretty well together, and we’re just going to keep getting better. I can remember when I first started playing with Katie (Williams), we struggled with communicating right away, since we were both kind of new to the situation. But I think as the year went on, we got better at that and more familiar (with everyone). I think all four of us are good at playing to each other’s strengths now.”

On battling injuries throughout her freshman year:

“I think I’m in better soccer shape mentally this year. Last year, I think I was a scared freshman, and I’d get riled up after anything happened. This year, I’m not. I can go into a game and know more of what to expect and I’m a lot stronger mentally.”

On what brought her to Kansas from California:

“I didn’t want to stay in California (for school), because I’ve lived there my whole life and I wanted to branch out. My parents always encouraged me to look out of state, and see what else was out there. My high school coach (Terri Collins) told me one day after practice that (Coach Francis) was interested in me. And my first reaction was ‘Kansas?’, and I thought ‘no way am I going there.’ But then I came on a visit and really liked it. I visited a few other schools, but I liked Kansas the best.”

On how she chose to play soccer:

“Growing up, I played soccer and softball the most. I also did basketball and ballet for a while, but those didn’t quite work out. I liked softball, but it was hard for me to transition from a fast-paced game like soccer to softball, where everything is a little slower. I also played club (soccer), so that got in the way of softball in the summer. It just kind of came down to choosing between going to a softball game and a soccer game, and I chose soccer.”

On how she manages to stay on top of her schedule:

“During the (soccer) season it’s pretty hectic. I feel like I get out of class and go straight to practice, and then to tutoring, and then home to do homework. Then I start it all up again the next day. When I do have free time, I usually sleep and eat. No, I just like to stay in and relax and watch TV when I have time off, saving energy.”

On growing up as the middle child, and only girl in the family:
“When I was little, I got picked on all the time. (My two brothers) would gang up on me, and make me the target of all the jokes. I got really close to my older brother (Evan) when he went away to college, which is good. He went to the naval academy, and will actually graduate from the police academy in a couple of weeks. My younger brother (Bryan) is a senior in high school, so he’s going through that grumpy teenage phase right now. I try to talk to both of them at least once a week.”