Goalie turned assistant coach inspires team

By Cecelia Francisco
November 6, 2003

Cecelia Francisco

An orange and white colored soccer ball soars over the huge fence separating the soccer field from the parking lot by the Dixon Center. The women’s soccer team practices taking shots on goal. The ball bounces in the parking lot barely missing a red car before coming to a stop.

“If you kick a ball over the fence, you have to go fetch it,” assistant coach/goalkeeper specialist Jess Huda informs the group of girls she is observing and practicing with.

Huda graduated from Cabrini in 2001. She played for the women’s soccer team for the last three of her years as a student during which she earned the right to be known as the Cavalier’s best keeper ever. She holds several Cabrini records including most wins (18), most single season shutouts (10) and lowest goals against average. She is no stranger to soccer, however, having played it for about 17 years.

“I mostly played forward,” Huda said. “I started playing as a goalie when I played here at Cabrini in my sophomore year.”

Huda has not coached any other soccer team before the Cabrini women’s team and this is her third season coaching. She has nothing but confidence in the girls as they gear up for the remaining games of the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference.

“They’re just awesome; we couldn’t ask for a better team,” Huda said. “Without a doubt I think they can take on any team.”

Huda is not all soccer, however. She’s originally from Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Currently she resides in Bryn Mawr and works for Corporate Fitness in Malvern at the Vanguard Group. On top of that, she tackles coaching Cabrini’s intramural soccer team, attends graduate school at West Chester University and plays in a women’s year-round soccer league. When she does manage to fit in free time, it is usually spent playing soccer.

“I just try to relax and have fun. That usually means soccer,” Huda said.

Huda capped off her practice with a drill known as World Cup. Groups of two girls make teams, each take on the name of a country (if there is time) and a specific player tosses a ball out. The team that scores with that ball is finished and leaves the playing field in the elimination process. The game starts over once the teams have all scored.

The team is relaxed and confident with Huda, who manages to sneak in a few questions about how a certain player feels about the next upcoming game, just to check their overall state of mind, before sending them off to get the ball they kicked over the fence and into the parking lot.

Posted to the web by: Cecelia Francisco

Cecelia Francisco

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