Jessica Kennett is flourishing for the Blue Hens in her senior season
Managing Sports Editor
For a long time, it was just a dream. That was what senior midfielder and captain of the women’s soccer team, Jessica Kennett, said about bringing home a Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championship.
Now, it’s a real possibility.
Delaware women’s soccer has yet to win a conference championship in its history. Kennett wants nothing more than to bring one home for her team.
“Coming into my senior year, I think it’s something that is extremely attainable for these group of girls,” Kennett said. “We have the most hardworking people I’ve ever seen on a team who are all on the same page and driven to win a CAA especially because that’s something this Delaware program has never done before, so being the first women’s soccer team at Delaware to do that would be an incredible honor.”
Last season, Kennett played a lot of games, but did not register any goals or assists. This year, she has been enjoying a terrific senior season. She is first on the team in assists (four), second in points (eight), and tied for third in goals (two). She is a big reason why the team has turned its season around from a year ago, going from four wins in 2018 to 10 so far in 2019, including five CAA wins. The five conference wins and 10 wins overall are both the highest total since 2011. Kennett has also helped the Blue Hens clinch a second consecutive CAA tournament berth, the first consecutive trip in six years. She worked extra hard this past summer, going to her old high school with her dad to improve her game,
“This summer we actually worked on [penalty kicks] a lot and my two goals have actually been from PKs, so that I think played a huge part in it,” Kennett said.
Kennett’s dad has been a big influence in her love for the game.
“We played pretty much every weekend, sometimes before school we would just kick around if we were waiting to go to the bus,” Kennett said.
Her father is a Division III coach for Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. He acts as an important role model for Kennett.
“Having him as a role model and a leader is something that I’m very lucky to have,” she said. “Especially because if I’m not having the best of games, he’s the first one I look to and he’s always super supportive and incredible and will just give me feedback that I feel some coaches might be scared to say.”
The game of soccer has taken Kennett to England, where she trained with the Chelsea and Arsenal Football Clubs on their “Under-18” women’s youth teams in the summer of 2012.
“That was an awesome experience,” Kennett said. “The next year, our whole club team was invited to an Arsenal Cup, which the team Arsenal was putting on this tournament, and we ended up winning, which is something that is really cool and is a great memory.”
Winning is nothing new to Kennett, as she won a 3×3 World Championship title at nine years old.
“That was the first thing I think I remember winning in my life,” Kennett said. “It was like five of us from my town growing up, and we just entered a tournament for fun over summer, just to keep touches on the ball. We ended up qualifying for this worldwide sports [tournament] at ESPN in Disney World and we made it there and we went undefeated and it was just incredible.”
Kennett is determined to lead her team to a CAA Championship. She is glad that she has her teammates along for the ride.
“I’m really proud of this group of girls,” Kennett said. “I think everyone is just collectively, as a unit, on the same and that’s just an incredible accomplishment as a team. I couldn’t imagine making it this far without them.”