As the Cobras gear up for their inaugural season, they have some immediate catching up to do. Although they're in a restructured division, the staples of the Southeast division remain strong, the Atlanta Silverbacks and Charlotte Eagles. Knowing this, the Central SC Cobras have attracted elite level players to ensure that they are instant contenders, and this week we will take a look back at the career of former USC Gamecock standout, and newest Corbas' signee, Alison Jarrow.
Like most kids, Alison took to the game early at the age offive. But unlike most, Jarrow went on to compete with the best of the best. In high school, she was selected to the USYSA Region I Camp in 1996 and 1997. For those not familiar with the camp, there's no s’mores or sing-a-longs by the fire. It is where the area's best soccer players go head to head as they all look for the opportunity to take their game to the next level. (One notable player to come out of Region I camp, US Olympic star Abby Wambach.) What was that experience like? The opportunity to play amongst the best is a possible career changing opportunity. When asked about her time spent at the camp, Jarrow responded, Wow, where did you find that information? I would never have remembered! Itwas a great chance to meet players from around the region, and play with a variety of players. I think it's great to get to learn different concepts and styles from new coaches you normally would not have crossed paths with. It was very apparent that Jarrow took advantage of her time spent in Region I camp as she not only lived up to the expectations of an USYSA standout, but she excelled throughout high school and on to college as well.
Although she grew up in Pennsylvania, a coach saw her play in a tournament and recruited her to come play for the USC Gamecocks. Jarrow said that after she came down for a visit she fell in love with both the program and the school.
And by the time she finished her career, Jarrow was named co-captain and received a second team All-SEC selection. Reflecting on her time there, the Gamecocks' 2002 Most Valuable Player reminisced on her time there. When asked about what was her favorite memory, she thought there were so many great moments tochoose from, but one sticks in my head. It was my junior year, and we were having an awesome season. I don't know the exact number but we had gone into so many double overtimes that season!! In our game vs. Florida it was an all out fight of talent and heart, and our defense was beyond exhausted, I am not sure what we were running on at that point. But with moments left we scored and I can remember running up the field screaming and just our entire team hugging. I actually have a picture of that moment enlarged and framed. It's this determination and passion the Central SC Cobras look to take advantage of and evoke in their first season in the W-League. It will be these types of moments they hope to create for players and fans alike.
And as the Central SC Cobras gear up for this first season, they will lean on Jarrow's experience as she spent time playing Iceland's Women's Premier League for Stjarnan F.C. and will look to help solidify the defense. And as a mother of a 3 year old, it's perfect timing that the Cobras look to invade the W-League as she won’t have to travel half way across the world to compete at a higher level....although her first thought's were Please don't let me get pulled back into that, my body can't take it. (laughs). But Jarrow is more than ready for her return to competitive soccer stating I am glad some friends convinced me to give it a shot, and I think it is a great opportunity for players (young and old) in the area. Truer words have never been spoken. For years South Carolina standouts have had to settle for 6 v 6 or co-ed games after the college career as there were no other opportunities locally as not everyone is able to make overseas to play.
But for Central SC Cobras, their time is now and they are ready to make an immediate impact on the women's soccer scene. And maybe more importantly, as Alison puts it, they are looking to gain respect. And after the Cobras help earn respect for women’s soccer, she then believes they willtry and break the mold of Columbia, or South Carolina for that matter, being a college sports only venue...it's really tough. The W-League is the home to soccer's most talented athletes, so it will be an amazing opportunity for the Cobras to show off their talent as professional athletes. As for Alison, she simply hopes she can get back to how she played in college and really utilize the experience and knowledge she gained from playing at USC. By competing at the elite level she’s used to playing at, she will not only help the Cobras earn that respect but they may even change the sporting landscape in Columbia, SC, in the process.