At 5-foot-1, 110 pounds, Jenessa Moore is hardly a menacing sight on the soccer field. Come game time and Moore shows that will and determination outweigh any size disadvantages she finds on the pitch.
The VSS Panther High Performance Program grad needed just one prospects camp tryout last January at the coast to earn a scholarship package with the Kwantlen Eagles of Surrey. Kwantlen has won the last two B.C. Colleges Athletic Association women’s titles.
“We are very excited to have Jenessa sign with the Eagles,” said Eagles’ head coach Gordon Smith. “She is a very skilled midfielder, able to read the game well and distribute the ball with either foot. She’s been coached very well.”
Moore has enjoyed an all-star cast of youth coaches for years. She is currently coached by Claire Paterson (UBCO Heat head coach) with the Kelowna United U21 team in the Pacific Coast League. Moore has also received magic guidance from the likes of Okanagan Whitecaps Academy head coach David Broadhurst, the late NOYSA coaching director Andy Waughman, Andrew Latham, Wayne Aasen, Rick Price and Ron Krause.
“Andy was my mentor when I began the Whitecaps Academy in Grade 8,” said Moore. “To have him spend countless hours with me on defending was amazing. I was super hard on myself and he told me to trust myself and relax. Things carried on with Andrew Latham in Grade 9 and then Dave and Claire took over and they put the icing on the cake.
“They took a different approach to the game and helped me improve my skills, and helped me learn, and understand, every position by going over things on the drawing board.”
Moore played for a showcase team – University Prep Soccer – last summer out of Edmonton with Vernon’s Michelle Smith and Kelowna’s Andrea Berg. The Prep team played exhibition games versus Washington Crossfire sides in Seattle and practised with the pro Seattle Sounders women’s team.
With Paterson`s U21 squad, Moore is primarily used in the midfield, where she is known for dominating 50-50 balls and displaying an excellent first touch.
“I’ve learned to play everywhere, but I prefer to play centre midfield, which is a challenge, especially when you’re small. I just run a lot. My goal is going in hard and winning the tackles.”
Said Paterson: “It is great that Janessa has signed with Kwantlen, they are a good program in the BCCAA and I think she will contribute immensely.
“She is a hard-working athlete that has a dangerous outside shot that will cause some difficulty for opponents. I know that we will be watching for it when we play Kwantlen.”
Moore, 18, maintained a 3.5 grade point average at VSS and earned bursaries from the Knights of Columbus, CUPE and Leigh Ramsay. She also won NOYSA’s George Stein Memorial Award and scholarship for her dedication to soccer through coaching at camps and serving as a referee or linesman. She gave up a chance to tour Europe with Vernon soccer friends this month to focus on her U21 team.
Adding Moore bolsters the Eagles’ hopes of landing a national gold medal next season.
“Having been a captain on most of the teams that she’s been on, we’re excited to add her leadership to the 2011-2012 squad,” said Smith.
The Vernon-born Moore credits her parents – Mike and Tara – and brother Evan “for supporting me in the ups and downs.”