Q&A with LIU Women’s Soccer player Jess Sexton

Jess Sexton is finally healthy this season and is ready to lead LIU Brooklyn to its third consecutive NEC championship. Photo courtesy of LIU Athletics.

Jess Sexton is finally healthy this season and is ready to lead LIU Brooklyn to its third consecutive NEC championship. Photo courtesy of LIU Athletics.

In our third edition of Brooklyn Eagle Sports’ weekly Q&A’s with LIU Brooklyn student-athletes (you can read the first, and second Q&A’s here) we have the goalie of the women’s soccer team Jessica Sexton.

Sexton is a 21-year-old senior from Rochester, New York who went to Greece Arcadio High School. She is one of the top goalies in the Northeast Conference, she was named the NEC Tournament MVP in 2012, was NEC Goalkeeper of the Year and All-NEC First Team in 2010, and holds the LIU single-season record with 10 shutouts in a season. However, she was been limited with injuries to her knee, hand and shoulder during her career. She is healthy this season and is looking to help lead the Blackbirds to their third consecutive NEC championship.

She’s also very bright, majoring in pharmacy and named to the NEC’s Fall Academic Honor Roll during each of her first three seasons at LIU Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Eagle Sports: The first two Q&A’s were with sophomores who are more focused on school than after, as a senior are you starting to focus on life after school yet?

Jessica Sexton: Yeah. After the season I have one more year of just school. Hopefully I can stay in touch with the soccer team and help out on the side next year, but right now I have a job at a pharmacy in Manhattan in a hospital and I want to do a residency in two years. I’m not sure where though. I’m going to apply to different places on both the East and West Coast and see who accepts me. I’m open to anything.

BES: You are not looking for a career in soccer or sports in some way?

JS: No. I thought about it when I was younger, but I had some big injuries, especially my sophomore year. That put a damper on my hopes of playing pro soccer. As a goalkeeper your body takes a beating and I want to get my career started.

BES: You’ve had a long list of injuries, what happened?

JS: They started before my sophomore year. I injured my knee over the summer. My goal was to try to rehab without surgery and I did that, came back for two and a half games in October just before conferences were to start, but when I came back I broke my pinky and I had to get surgery. That killed that season. Then, when I was coming back my junior year, I tore my shoulder. I ended up having surgery on my hand and knee. I missed a lot of junior year because I was slow coming back. I basically only played the second half of that season.

BES: How are you feeling now?

JS: Pretty good. My knee is never going to be 100 percent, but i’m working with what I have and I’m trying to get through senior year.

BES: What was it like dealing with all of those injuries?

JS: It was rough. I had such high hopes of being able to play the second half of my sophomore season, I worked so hard and was missing the season. I had hope to play and I got shut down with the hand injury. It put a damper on that year.

BES: Before the injuries, were you considering a career in sports?

JS: Yeah, I had a really good freshman year and I had a good feeling about that season. I was considering right out of college doing a year in the WFA, I thought it would be cool to be a draft pick, but now that I’m just planning on going into my career.

BES: Speaking of your career, pharmacy is a tough major. How do you find time for school work and the team?

JS: It’s not a struggle so much as it’s just discipline and putting enough time in for both things. I feel like if I need to work on soccer, I take more time, but if i have finals or an exam i just have to move my time for more studying.

BES: A lot of LIU’s student-athletes are on the honor roll. What is it about the school that has such smart players?

JS: I think the coaches do a great job of recruiting well rounded athletes. It’s an expectation to do well at soccer, but also to know how to manage your time at school. They don’t just recruit just good soccer players. We help each other out too.

BES: Speaking of recruiting, how did you come to LIU?

JS: I chose LIU because I wanted a good school for both pharmacy and soccer. It had a great soccer program and the major I wanted. The coaching staff was amazing, as soon as I met them I knew that i wanted to play for them. Coaching was a huge factor for me because a few friends I know hate where they play specifically because of the coach. So this was a huge influence.

BES: Did you consider other schools?

JS: I considered University of Virginia and Syracuse, but LIU had a better pharmacy program so it wasn’t much of a decision.

BES: What do you think of your team this year?

JS: I think a lot of people believe that because we lost 10 seniors it’s going to be a recovery year. There is good talent in freshman class and we’re developing the sophomores and juniors too. We do have to rely on the freshman, but i don’t have doubt of them playing to their potential.

BES: What about your season personally? What do you expect?

JS: Staying healthy is a priority. As far as awards go, I definitely want to post the most shutouts in the NEC, not just for me but for the defense of our team. We’ve always been a defensive minded team and shutouts are my goal.

BES: You already have the school record, not satisfied with that?

JS: Yeah, 10, you never settle though, you always have to go beyond what you’ve done in the past.

BES: I can’t let you off the hook without asking you about Rochester. I lived a year in Buffalo myself and I always thought that area was more like Canada-south than New York-west. Was the transition to Brooklyn hard for you?

JS: <laughs> Yeah, all my teammates used say ‘You’re from Canada,’ but now we have two Canadians on the team and they’ve stopped. I love city life so I think that’s one of the things that drew me to LIU. It is in New York City and Brooklyn is such a great neighborhood. It’s up and coming and the Barclays Center has brought more comradery, new business, everything is going up from here.

BES: I know you mentioned moving after school, but would you prefer to stay in Brooklyn if you had the choice?

JS: I would def consider staying, it depends on what places accept me. I would consider staying here, or at least living here while working in Manhattan. I stayed here all summer, and i got a little taste of no soccer and no school and I liked it a lot.

BES: What’s your favorite thing to do in Brooklyn?

JS: Eat! I love the restaurants and I love how you can go a different place every night if you wanted and never run out of places to go. And everything is in walking distance.

BES: What are your favorite places to go?

JS:  I love the Smoke Joint BBQ and Cafe Habana. I love sushi and Chipotle too. I love to eat. I’m not sure what I’ll do when I stop playing soccer. I don’t want to eat any less so I’ll have to work out a lot.

BES: Now that you are a senior do you feel extra pressure to be a leader?

JS: No. It’s not hard. I feel like when I was a freshman, I looked up to the seniors and the upperclassmen as well. I’ve been like that for three full years so I know what’s expected of me, It’s easier now explaining to them as opposed to a few years ago It’s just natural, I kind of feel like a secondary coach to them.

BES: Any teams you are especially looking forward to playing this year?

JS: St. Francis (PA). Ever since my freshman year we’ve had this huge rivalry. The only two games we lost my freshman year were to St. Francis and when we played them in the finals and lost to them again it was a real dagger. We were No. 1 in the conference at the time. Then the past two years in the finals and beating them has developed a huge rivalry.

Thanks to Jessica for taking the time to speak with Brooklyn Eagle Sports. The Blackbirds begin their 2013 season during an exhibition game against Army at West Point on Aug. 13.  The regular season opener will take place at LIU on Friday Aug. 23 against St. Joseph’s.

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