Back in 2011, a young Jane Campbell sat in the bleachers at Kennesaw State and watched Stanford win a National Championship, as the Cardinal defeated Duke 1-0.
Five years later, as the Cardinal's starting goalkeeper, Campbell now hopes to bring home the hardware herself for the first overall-seeded Stanford as they begin the NCAA tournament on Friday with an opening match against Houston Baptist.
“It’s weird thinking I am a senior because it feels like just yesterday I was getting dropped off at school freshman year, so it’s definitely a little bizarre. I’m excited to graduate, but I’m definitely going to miss Stanford, but I’m excited at the same time,” Campbell said.
But before graduation in June, Campbell has a couple more items she would like to check off her list. One being a Pac-12 conference title, which the Cardinal earned in early November for the second consecutive year. The other – a national championship.
Described as a competitor by many, Campbell has put her name on numerous school record lists, as she is first in goalkeeping minutes with 7,233, fourth in saves with 208, tied for second in shutouts with 34 and fifth in goals against average with a .66 per game.
Campbell thanks head coach Paul Ratcliffe, who was named the Pac-12’s coach of year in 2015 and 2016, for the opportunity for her to leave Palo Alto with a legacy.
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“She’s so humble, she shouldn’t thank me – but herself for all her hard work and her teammates on the field because they make it happen,” Ratcliffe said. “Obviously she has a great goalkeeper coach in Hideki Nakada. I think he does an amazing job helping her, but ultimately I think she helped Stanford be one of the top teams. I’m proud of her, she’s a unique player and always thinking about us coaches and teammates...she has created a hard working environment for her teammates because of her competitive drive and leadership.”
Campbell credits that competitive drive to her family, specifically her parents Chrystal and Mike Campbell. Chrystal, who rowed for the Naval Academy, was a Navy fighter pilot, while Jane's dad was a Navy lieutenant and pilot, as well as a captain of the Wesleyan hockey team. Campbell says her dad is always trying to hit the golf ball farther than she, and jokes that beating her mom in a tennis match was one of the greatest moments of her life. And, according to Ratcliffe, the Campbell family’s “standard for excellence” was key in her grooming of a talented soccer player.
“Jane is an unbelievable competitor,” Ratcliffe adds. “She has a competitive drive and wants to win in everything she is doing and be the best she can be in everything she does, and I think on the field that competitiveness comes out and helps lead our team to a lot of success.”
As for the future, Campbell has her eyes set on the postseason ahead, but her soccer career will most likely continue after her Stanford playing days are over. At age 17 in 2013, Campbell became the youngest goalkeeper ever called into a full U.S. national team camp. The senior said the experience opened her eyes to what it takes to play at the professional level. Campbell said it's her dream to make the the USWNT — even if the honor comes right after graduation or five years from now.
“There is no doubt in my mind that she will end up being a professional soccer player and be one of the best goalkeepers in the U.S. She’s somebody I have really enjoyed coaching and deserves to play at the highest level,” Ratcliffe said. “I know she just got called in with full national team, so I think that's the beginning of the story we are going to write about Jane in the future.”
The match between Stanford and Houston Baptist is set for 10:00 p.m. ET.