Jamie Shepherd is a senior at BYU and has been a starter for the Cougars since her freshman year in 2019. Jamie has led the Cougars as a consistent midfielder and has been a key part of BYU's success over the last several seasons. She grew up playing for Utah Celtic FC and attended American Fork HS, where she won state in 2017 and was Utah Gatorade Player of the Year for soccer, as well as a State Champion in basketball in 2016-17. Jamie also was a member of the Utah Celtic FC U19 team that won the club's first national championship in 2019.
How early did you start playing soccer? I started playing soccer the fall of my Kindergarten year on a team with boys and girls. My first coach was a dad of one of the players and he nicknamed me “The Lawnmower.” I had no fear and would run over the kids I was playing against.
Did you play other sports in high school or while growing up? Yes, I played 4 years of both basketball and soccer in high school. It was a little stressful because you always feel like you’re getting behind in one while playing the other, but I’m sure glad I made the effort to do both. I have great memories of playing multiple sports. Our basketball team was really good and won a state championship in 2017.
What are some of your favorite off-field hobbies? I love playing pickleball, swimming, dancing, and spending time with family and friends.
What was your favorite memory playing for Celtic? My favorite memory was winning Far West Regionals in Seattle, Washington against Southern California’s FC Legends in 2017 for the first time in Club History. We won 4-3 on a last minute goal from my good friend Anna Pickering.
What was the recruitment process like for you out of the club/hs? I attended camps and specifically ID camps. I emailed schools I was interested in and invited them to my games and tournaments.
What was the transition from club/hs to college like for you? The biggest transition to college soccer was the speed of play and intensity. Everyone was bigger and faster.
How did Celtic help prepare you to play at BYU? Steve Magelby started coaching our team around my 8th grade year. He taught us to build out of the back and keep possession. It was a little bit of an adjustment at first, but he was such a good coach and has such a high soccer IQ it really elevated our team’s level of play. We played and competed at a very high level. It really helped me prepare for college.
What is your favorite part about playing at BYU? My favorite part of playing at BYU is the fan base. Wherever we play, whether home or away we always have the best fans there supporting us!
What were the main factors that led you to commit and play at BYU? My parents both grew up outside of Utah and met and graduated from BYU. All my siblings and I played soccer growing up and our favorite thing to do was to attend BYU women's soccer games. We knew all the players and loved cheering for the team. BYU has had a long standing tradition of a strong, successful women's program and it was a lifelong dream for me to play for them. The university was also close to my home and family and offered a great education. I also loved that I would be surrounded by people with my same faith and values.
How have you found balance between playing, studying, and social/family time? The thing that has helped me most is focusing and being in the present. When I’m at soccer I’m at soccer, when I’m with my family I'm with my family, etc. This helps me fully enjoy the moment and not become overwhelmed with the different aspects of life.
What’s one thing you wish everyone knew about playing college soccer? College soccer is a full time job and a constant grind interspersed with the highest of the high and the lowest of the low. But, the highs are moments of sheer joy and unbelievable happiness.
What are you studying at BYU? Family Life: Family Studies
How have you learned from failures or disappointments in soccer? I have learned to accept that failure and disappointment are a part of soccer and life, because trust me, I’ve had PLENTY of each. I have learned to be patient, learn from mistakes, and simply move on by focusing on the present and the new task at hand. My failures and disappointments have only made me stronger and a better and more motivated player.
What is your proudest moment in soccer? My proudest moment in soccer so far has been my sophomore year at BYU playing in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA tournament against UVA in Virginia. It is my proudest moment not just because we won, but because it was the most intense, hard fought team win I have ever experienced and been a part of.
What advice would you give aspiring youth players that want to play college soccer? You’re only as good as the time you put in outside of practice with the team.
What key things should aspiring college players know or understand about college soccer? It’s important to have fun, it’s a privilege, a chance of a lifetime. Enjoy the journey.
Who did you look up to as a youth soccer player? Sergio Busquets and Carli Lloyd.
What is the best way for players to be “seen” by coaches? Be Bold. Don’t shy away from an opportunity to show coaches who you are and what you are capable of. Know your strengths and what makes you good.
You can follow Jamie and the Cougars as they compete in their first season in the BIG XII. Follow them on Instagram at @byusoccer_w.