This is the first of a series of interviews that should provide insight to South Carolina's first women's pro-am soccer team, the W-League's Central SC Cobras. Although this is the inaugural season for the Cobras, South Carolina residents may already be familiar with some of the stars as the team will be a mix of local players and top talent from across the country. As the women prepare to make an impact in the W-League, in a conference where the current W-League champions also call home, we will get to know the players before they actually take the field. So sit back as we go 1 v 1 with former College of Charleston standout, and current Citadel Assistant Coach, Jamie Stewart.
It should come to no surprise to anyone who knows Jamie Stewart that she's completely obsessed with the game of soccer. When she's not coaching today's brightest talents for the Citadel, she can be found on a nightly bases putting her skills on display at an array of co-ed, indoor-outdoor or women's soccer games. Where there is a ball and a field, there's Jamie. And it's no surprise as her addiction to the game of soccer started at a very early age. Jamie explains, I started playing soccer when I was four years old. My parents lied and said I was five because I wanted to play so badly.
Soccer wasn't her only love, but it was her first. She played a lot of basketball growing up as well, but as she states, soccer was and still is completely soccer crazy. Growing up her parents could not ever pull her off the soccer field. Years later we see not much has changed.
But that's okay, that time and dedication reflected in success in all levels. In high school Jaime scored the game winning goal to win the state championship (over eventual college and Cobras teammate, Claire Brown's Wando High School). When asked about the moment she reflected, Wow, that was a long time ago I had a lot of fun playing with my High School team and winning the State Championship that year was probably the highlight of my high school career. I am not sure I have ever really bragged about that to Claire—hmmm…now I will, thanks. Stewart hopes to duplicate that success with her new team, the Cobras, but before she could go on to make history on the first W-League in South Carolina, she had to continue her journey with her college career.
With that success at the high school level, she went on to the next level in women's soccer as she committed to playing with the College of Charleston. When it came to choosing where to play, the choice was easy. Becoming a Cougar was an easy decision as she explained, I absolutely love the City of Charleston and I knew CofC would provide a great balance of academics, athletics, and a good college experience. I met my best, life-long, friends here so it was a great decision. Jamie continues to play with many of those friends on a weekly basis as she keeps her soccer touch fresh in many before mentioned rec. leagues.
As she reflects on her time spent playing with friends as a key member of the College of Charleston Women's Soccer Team, Jamie remembers her most memorable moment as a Cougar. There were a lot of great moments, but I will always remember going up 2-0 against Clemson, who was really talented that year. We ended up losing 3-2 in double OT, but the combination of the big crowd and being the underdog was exciting. And those who know Jamie's obsession with perfection, it may be a bit surprising to read her fond moments in defeat. But then again it may have been easier to accept with accomplishments like All-Conference Second Team, All-SoCon Tournament team member and NSCAA Academic All-American to your resume.
And when her college career was all said and done, it was on to the next goal to conquer in life, surprise surprise, it was coaching. Not totally out of the blue, Stewart explains, I always knew I wanted to be involved in coaching so I started my senior year, helping with MPSC Conquest, which was such a great experience. I became a Graduate Assistant at The Citadel to get my masters and absolutely fell in love with coaching at the college level. From that point, I knew coaching was what I wanted to do... And coach she has. Jamie has led her MPSC Conquest soccer team to two South Carolina State Championships, and now has six years of experience helping change the culture at the Citadel as an Assistant coach for the women's soccer team.
It's been nearly seven years since Stewart has competed at a high level, and now she ready to return to a high level of competition as she prepares for the 2012 season with the Central SC Cobras. I am very excited to get back into playing at a high level after quite some time. At this point, I am not sure what to expect but am just working hard to get back into soccer game shape! Ultimately, I hope my coaching experience will provide a leadership quality to help our team have a great season. And with the Cobras being a brand new team, entering a division that may be shaky due to the additional of two other brand new team, experience may be a deciding factor. Stewart still has the drive and passion to succeed, and looks to help the Cobras be one to watch in the W-League. All eyes will be on the Cobras this year, and they look to exceed all expectations with the help of CofC's brightest alum.