UTD’s greatest goalkeeper in the making

Jade Press

In her junior year, Jade Press reigns as the best ASC goalkeeper for shutouts, preventing a single score against her team for eight games and continuing the streak of an undefeated season.

In Lago Vista, Texas, a star rose in Lago Vista High School’s club soccer. A standout Viking would become a Comet in 2021, choosing UTD for its excellent athletic and academic program. Press followed her father’s advice to join the information technology and systems program, becoming a two year Academic All-ASC in the process. To be eligible for the Academic All-ASC honor, student-athletes must complete at least one academic year at their institution with a consistent 3.0 cumulative GPA and without unexcused absences.

“I have really enjoyed playing for the Comets so far,” Press said. “The first two years have gone by really quickly, and I am excited for our upcoming season. I think a big help to balancing both my academics and athletics would be staying organized. For me, staying organized really helps me be on top of my assignments and lowers the stress of feeling overwhelmed.”

In her freshman year, Press played in six games with two starts. By the end of her sophomore year, Press had a starting position in 15 games — meaning she began the match as the goalie rather than subbing in another; two other goalkeepers on the team have never left bench because of Press’s skill. She also ranked second in the ASC in saves, third in shutouts and fourth in lowest average goals allowed per game. In her junior year, she ranks first in shutouts per game, second in both lowest average goals allowed per game and saves, and fourth in saves per game in the ASC. 

So far, Press has helped the Comets maintain a nine-game shutout, meaning a match where the goalie blocks every single shot, preventing the opposing team from scoring a single point. This makes the Comets the third best team in the NCAA for goals against average. It is this consistency that led her to five key saves against the Trinity Tigers, which UTD has never accomplished in its 26 years of women’s soccer. 

“I think beating Trinity was one of the best moments I’ve been able to share with the rest of the team, especially since it was the first time that UTD had ever beaten them before,” Press said.

Press is on track to overturn the previous three record holders for shutouts, which Katie Johnson set in 2002 and 2004 respectively; Johnson was followed by Catherine Fox in 2005 and Brittany Best in 2011, for a shared record of 12 shutouts. To shatter this record, Press needs to be present for four more shutouts. Press said her focus is on keeping up what has been one of the strongest team dynamics seen on field since 2019. 

“I think consistency and mental toughness are very beneficial,” Press said. “As a goalkeeper you’re going to make mistakes, and the hardest part is ensuring you don’t let them get to your head and affect the rest of the game.”

Press has so far played for 720 minutes this season, committing to a 100% save percentage with 25 saves. 

“It’s definitely a bit of a stressful position to play in, as you are the last line of defense in almost every situation,” Press said. “That being said, playing with such a solid team and especially defensive line makes a huge impact on the difficulty of games when you know you can rely on those around you to have your back in tough situations.”

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