Lacing Up the Cleats With...Senior Goalkeeper Jessie Gardner

GO KNIGHTS Gardner is the only remaining Knight from the 2004 team that surprised FSU that year, 3-2.
Gardner is the only remaining Knight from the 2004 team that surprised FSU that year, 3-2.

Oct. 1, 2008

The fourth installment of's weekly series on the UCF women's soccer team features goalkeeper Jessie Gardner. The native of Sarasota has been with the Knights since the 2004 season.

Next week's edition will focus on junior Emily Maynard.

For a look back at previous editions, check out Lacing Up the Cleats With....

Jessie Gardner - Sr. - GK - Sarasota, Fla./Riverview
What drew you to UCF when deciding where to attend college?
At first, the newness of it all. I really liked that it was a school with a lot of potential to grow. These past few years, it has exceeded my expectation in its progress as one of the top universities in the state. Also, I enjoyed the team chemistry that I got a glimpse of on my recruit trip. That was very appealing.

How does it feel to be a member of this soccer program, which is historically one of the most successful teams on campus?
It feels great! I love to brag about my team and our accomplishments, not only throughout our conference, but nationally as well. A lot of people underestimate us because we are not in the SEC, ACC, etc. But it's an indescribable feeling when we beat those big conference teams or give them a run for their money.

Describe your favorite soccer moment.
At UCF, it was my freshman year, so fall 2004. We were in Tallahassee playing FSU and it was a televised game. At halftime, we were down 2-0 and we got reamed by our coaches for how we were playing. We came back in the second half and tied it up. And with like 40 seconds left, my roommate scored the game-winning goal. It was so exciting! Our team was committed to getting that win and we did. The UCF women's tennis team was in town for a tournament as well, and came to our game with signs. It was great to have that support up there.



Before UCF however, I played in a tournament in Lake Mary that ended up getting me noticed by coach Cromwell. My team had won our bracket and we played another team in the championship, which was like our rivals in-season. The game went to overtime and then to penalty kicks. In goal, I stopped four out of seven of the PKs, and I made my goal against their keeper. It was the most incredible feeling of victory I've ever had personally.

Describe your favorite personal experience, such as a memorable family vacation, graduating high school, getting your first job, etc.
When my older sister got married in 2006. I was the Maid of Honor and the wedding and all the festivities that go along with it were so much fun!

List your top three places you have ever been to.
Europe - went there with UCF soccer my freshman year for preseason. It was such an experience. We went all over to places like London, Belgium, Germany, Holland, etc.
Arizona - watched my boyfriend at the time play in the national championship game for the Gators, and they beat Ohio State.
Southern California - went for an old UCF teammate's wedding this past summer. It was so much fun and beautiful!!!

List your top three places you want to go to.
I love to travel, so I'd love to go to Australia, Italy and Hawaii.

What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
I hope to be happily married and have a family and I hope to be in a career that I love, probably having something to do with college or professional sports.

Where do you see yourself living in 10 years?
I have no idea. It depends on what works best for my family. Although, I would love to live in Sarasota again at some point.

What game show would you rather be a contestant on and why?
The Price is Right because I watched that show all the time growing up and I think I'd be a professional at that game!

If you worked for CNN, would you be at the anchor desk, out in the field, a cameraman, a weatherman, a sportscaster or sitting in a cubicle all day away from the studio.
Definitely a sportscaster! I love sports!

Reflect on elementary school. Is there a project you had that you will always remember, like a field trip or cutting open a frog?
In my fifth grade history class, we had a "jury trial" and I was the judge. I felt pretty powerful!

You have $1000 to spend at Best Buy. What do you get?
A huge flat screen and probably a Wii.

You have $50 to spend at Publix to stock up the kitchen. What do you get?
Publix Frozen yogurt for sure! Probably some fresh fruit and a couple Publix subs!

Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico. Why?
The Gulf, because then I could be on Siesta Key Beach, which has the most amazing powder white sand.

You're going to play a 2-on-2 pick-up soccer game tomorrow and you can pick anybody who has ever lived to play with you, even if they never played soccer before. Who are those three people?
David Beckham and Michelle Akers for sure, and probably Pele.