As a young girl, Jessica Wade would spend hours kicking soccer balls around her garden. Today, as captain of South African U17 Women’s national team, she’s living her dream of playing soccer full time.
Jessica started playing formally at the age of 7 at a local boys’ club, before moving to a girls’ team. She attributes her technical abilities to Jorge Pereira who runs his own soccer academy.
This meant saying goodbye to a promising tennis career, which saw her representing SA Schools at primary school level, but tennis’ loss has definitely been soccer’s gain.
For someone who’s still only 17, Jessica has packed an impressive list of highlights into her career.
One of her favourite memories is playing the U17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay in 2018. Although South Africa ended bottom of their group, it’s an experience she’ll never forget. She was named player of the tournament in the 2019 COSAFA championship, and while the 2021 U17 Women’s World Cup has been cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic, she knows she has time on her side.
Jessica’s super-excited that SA Women’s Football is about to go back to training ahead of the women’s national league. Will she be ready? She was born ready. In fact, she’s hardly missed a day of training since Covid-19 first struck, alternating between skills training and gym. She even found time to finish her school career through home-schooling.
When she’s not playing soccer, you’ll find Jessica chilling at home with her family. She enjoys playing the piano and recently started learning the guitar as well. If her musical talent and work ethic is anything like her soccer skill, she’ll be a natural.
What’s next? She dreams of playing in the top tier in Europe, and rubbing shoulders with modern-day greats such as Danish superstar Pernille Harder. With her talent and dedication, we know it’s just a matter of time before Jessica will be playing at the world’s biggest soccer venues.