Sacred Heart's Jenna Hascher signs to play soccer at Northwestern
Updated 9:03 pm, Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Jenna Hascher found her calling on the soccer field at a young age.
"I have been playing goalie ever since I could remember," said Hascher, a Convent of the Sacred Heart senior. "Some people thought I was crazy, why would you want to dive on the ground? But I always thought it was the coolest thing. I wanted to be the person saving, not scoring."
Though her time at Sacred Heart will soon be coming to an end, Hascher will have plenty more opportunities to save the game for her team.
"Going to a school like Northwestern has always been a dream of mine," said Hascher, who made a habit of keeping the opposition off the scoreboard. "The Big 10 is one of the best conferences in the country and I was looking at a great academic school I could player soccer at. Northwestern has one of the best journalism schools, which is what I was looking for."
Northwestern finished 7-10-2 last fall, but won its last three games in the competitive Big 10.
"Being 5-7, I'm kind of small for a goalkeeper," Hascher said. "You have to control that 18-yard box, so it's going to be difficult going up against girls several inches taller than me. But I'm looking forward to the challenge."
A 2012 Connecticut Prep School All-State Soccer selection, Hascher is no stranger to challenges. She was thrown into the fire her first varsity game in goal for the Tigers as an eighth grader. Hascher's older sister Lindsey, also a goalie, broke her hand prior to the FAA quarterfinals against Greens Farms Academy. So in goal as a wide-eyed eighth grader went Hascher.
"It's one of my favorite games," Hascher said. "We lost that game 3-2, but they scored on two penalty kicks. I still have the newspaper clippings on my desk and whenever things get hard in soccer I look at that and tell myself that I could do it and play with kids four or five years older than me."
Like her sister, Hascher played club soccer growing up (Connecticut Football Club United) and always found herself in front of the goal.
"I've always been playing soccer ever since I remember," said Hascher, a Stamford resident. "My dad played, my sister played and they were both goalies. So I went into that position as well. I used to go to my sister's practices because I always wanted to play and get better."
Hascher, who is also a member of the Tigers' basketball team, grew up honing her skills for the Stamford Hurricanes and Everton America club teams before joining Connecticut Football Club. While playing club soccer, she had the opportunity to train with former U.S. national team goalie Tony Meola, a member of the 1990-94 World Cup team.
"He has been a huge idol of mine," Hascher said. "To be able to hear his experiences of how he's played and to be able to get tips from him is such an amazing thing. He's really inspired me."
The star goalie has also drawn inspiration from her father, Glenn.
"My dad has helped me in a lot of ways over the years," she said. "He has always told me that I didn't have to play, so he really left it up to be and made it my choice. I liked that no one forced me to do anything."
Indeed, Hascher will fondly look back on her days as Sacred Heart's goalie.
"Playing soccer at Sacred Heart was one of my highlights of high school," said Hascher, who played under the guidance of coach Brendan Reidy. "We weren't always the best team out there, but we tried our hardest. It really helped me become a leader and take control."
With her high school days coming to a close, Hascher is getting ready to begin the next chapter.
"I'm looking forward to the campus life and school spirit that Northwestern has," Hascher said. "When I went there to visit, I went to a basketball game and the school spirit was amazing."