NWSL players and fans are still waiting on the 2023 schedule
The NWSL season begins March 25.
Jocelyn Leigh is most comfortable in the stillness of her mind. Whether she’s reading a book or breaking through defenders, Evanston Township’s (Ill.) forward exudes calm.
On Tuesday night, against an undefeated Glenbrook North team, Leigh’s patience was key.
“It will come,” coach Stacy Salgado said. “Your time will come.”
And it did. With two minutes left in the first half, Leigh scored a pair of near-identical goals into the back post. After 38 minutes of coming up short, the burst surprised the sophomore.
Leigh’s momentum carried into the second half, and she completed the hat trick with a shot from further out. Leigh’s dazzling performance helped the Wildkits clinch the 5-0 victory and the Central Suburban League South division title, earning her JWS Player of the Week honors.
“It’s always an incredible feeling to get one goal,” Leigh said. “Three is just amazing.”
Leigh recorded her first varsity hat trick on March 31. Since then, she’s been hard to stop, recording three more in just over a month. A young standout in a sea of seniors, Leigh’s mark on the team is indelible. She leads the Wildkits with 20 goals. Despite her success, she’s not one to gloat, and she is not burdened by expectations.
“You never know what you’re going to get with games,” Leigh said.
Salgado first met Leigh at a summer camp before her freshman year. In the two years since, Salgado has watched Leigh’s confidence flourish.
“She’s earned her starting position. She’s not as worried about making mistakes. When she’s on the field, you can feel her presence more, which to me shows confidence,” Salgado said.
She’ll need that next year. With half of Evanston Township’s roster graduating, the team dynamic will shift, and Leigh will be thrust into a greater leadership role.
Congratulations and appreciation to our Seniors and their families for their commitment and dedication to Girls Soccer!!! pic.twitter.com/LTSA3qrPkG— Evanston Athletics (@ETHSports) April 27, 2022
Leigh, whom Salgado called “silent but deadly,” has already started to open up more to her teammates, her coach has observed. Even though she is not a naturally vocal leader, she’s earned her teammates’ respect with her versatility.
Just as Leigh channels her creatively off the field, reading books about historical fiction, social justice and sports, she is imaginative on the field: Salgado switches Leigh’s position, sometimes mid-game, between left, right and center in the attacking third, making it hard for other teams to scout Evanston.
“We know she’s going to produce,” Salgado said. “Every chance she gets, she’s so quiet when she does it, she looks so peaceful when she’s doing it.”
Nika Anschuetz is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @nlanschuetz.
The NWSL season begins March 25.
Press has been rehabbing an ACL injury since June.
She could return for the team's April camp.
Vlatko Andonovski also provided updates on Christen Press and others.
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