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Alumni Spotlight: Jade Gentile

Preparing for college play begins with club training

Playing soccer with SDA helped prepare Jade Gentile for her college career as a forward at West Virginia University.

She says the quality of the coaching and the high level of play of her teammates served as good training for the intensely competitive environment of Division 1 soccer in the Big 12 Conference.

“You are always, at every practice, fighting for your spot,” she says, explaining that the coach constantly changes lineups based on performance. “She’ll switch it around every day.” 

Gentile is in her junior year at WVU, but this is the first spring she has been able to play. She had two knee surgeries, in the spring of both her freshman and sophomore years. 

She tore her meniscus, cartilage in her knee that acts as a shock absorber, during an Olympic Development Program game before she went to West Virginia. “When I came to college, I guess I hadn’t fully recovered it.”

Despite the injury, Gentile made the Academic All Big 12 Rookie Team her freshman year and played in 14 matches off the bench. Then as a sophomore, she made the Academic All Big 12 First Team, playing in 22 matches before she tore the meniscus in her other knee during a practice.

She is majoring in Global Supply Chain Management. ‘Undecided’ when she started school, Gentile took some business classes and liked them She recently selected her emphasis. Her academic advisor works with someone from the soccer team to arrange her class schedule around practice.

“It’s been tough because of the amount of times we travel in the fall,” she says. “I usually take less credits in the fall and then more in the spring.”

In the fall, the team trains every day, usually mornings on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and then afternoons on Tuesdays and Thursdays. “In the fall we focus more on game aspects and patterns of play rather than technical skills. In the fall, it’s all about getting ready for the next game.

In the spring, the focus is more on fitness, and preparing for the fall season.

Gentile believes she arrived at West Virginia in good shape and ready to compete for playing time. Still, “it’s tough when you have seniors there who have been there for four years. Our coach likes to look for experience. She knows that the seniors know how she wants them to play.

“SDA really helped with that. The competition that we played in club was very high. So I was already aware of and comfortable with the level of play.” Gentile credits the level of talent in the players on her SDA team with making her a better player. “That pushed me to my limit.” 

She also says her coaches, Michael Paolini and Mike Kirmse, were instrumental in setting high standards—and helping her meet them. 

“They helped me a lot because of how knowledgeable they were about what I needed to be able to play at the college level,” she says. “They taught me about sleeping well, eating well, hydration and how much that all means.” 

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