Eastern Michigan University’s women’s soccer team struggled last season because of youth and lack of chemistry, but senior leader and defender Jessica Thomas believes the team has major potential to win in the Mid-American Conference this season.
Thomas, who sports the number 12 jersey, is in her final season with the team and is in the starting lineup. She is ready for the team to surprise people and win in the MAC.
“I personally really want us to win the MAC. We have a ton of young talent this year and we are looking much better,” Thomas said. “We had a really rocky season last year because we had a lot of problems on the team, which hurt chemistry, and this year’s chemistry is already way better.”
Last year, the team struggled, winning only two games in a 20-game stretch, but this season the team already has a better record at 2-2-1. Thomas has three assists and three points this year in her five starts.
The team just finished a road trip to San Antonio, beating Lamar University 3-1 and losing to the University of Texas at San Antonio 1-2. Thomas, being from Calgary, Canada, joked that if the team can play in the heat of Texas they definitely have a shot this season.
“It was an oven down there. If our team can handle playing in that kind heat I think we can take on anyone this season,” Thomas said.
The team hasn’t started its MAC portion of their schedule yet, and will play Michigan State this weekend.
For the team to meet Thomas’ expectations this season, they will have to knock off the MAC rival teams in their division.
The team currently sits at fourth in their division of the MAC West behind Central Michigan (4-1-0), Western Michigan (3-1-1) and Ball State (3-2-0). They hope to move up in the standings at their first MAC game on the road Sept. 21 against Northern Illinois.
“We are ready for the meat of our schedule. Our toughest teams we are going to face this season are Central Michigan, Toledo and Western Michigan and I think the team is ready to play them,” Thomas said. “They are going to be tough games and we are going to have to play our best, but I think we can win those. Friday we are going to be playing [Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis], and its going to be a great coming out chance for us to have young players score a lot of goals and get our confidence up.”
Thomas has enjoyed her time at EMU and likes hanging out with the team.
“[The] chemistry is so much better this year. We hang out a lot, go to movies and [go] hiking,” she said. “I have been at Eastern Michigan living here for four years and still my teammates will every now and then catch me for my Canadian accent. It’s all good fun; we joke around a lot.”
Thomas, a business management major, is proud of her Canadian background and enjoys Michigan as well. Skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer in Calgary are her two favorite hobbies.
Thomas will be graduating in April and plans on moving to Florida to apply for an internship with Disney World.