At a young age, Kelly Jenks engaged herself fully in playing soccer, not knowing that all of the hard work she put in would land her a position on a professional team after college.
Jenks, a California Baptist University alumna, played for the women’s soccer team as a forward from the time she began attending CBU in 2012.
After graduating in May 2014, she dedicated herself full-time to training and received news Jan. 15 that she had been signed to play for Kokkola FC10 of Finland. On March 4, she will embark on this journey.
“CBU helped me grow in my relationship with Christ, and helped me put soccer in perspective,” she said. “I learned that my identity isn’t found in soccer, but God gave me soccer ability that he wants me to use to serve him. It’s ironic because since I started playing in college, my value on soccer has decreased to a much healthier level and my success on the field has increased.”
Kristen St. Clair, head coach of the women’s soccer team, said when Jenks arrived, her work ethic was like none other.
“She was a hard worker on and off the field, a great student athlete,” St. Clair said. “You could see her confidence grow.”
Playing professionally has always been a dream of Jenks’, but she did not realize it was possible until the summer before her senior year.
“After my senior season, I talked with my coach and knew it just wasn’t time to stop playing, and I felt like God had revealed this to me, too,” she said. “I wanted to play at a higher level and see how far soccer could take me.”
Though she anticipates the new lifestyle and meeting new people, she said she will miss her dad, who has been her inspiration and supporter.
“My dad has been there for me since I was 4 and has always looked out for me and been so selfless,” she said. “In four years of playing college soccer, I can count on one hand the number of games he has missed. I will definitely miss him so much when I’m abroad in Finland.“
Dave Jenks, Kelly’s father, said he will miss her and is preparing to be a long-distance dad.
“I will miss her tremendously,” he said. “As a dad, I want her to challenge herself by trying new things. But Finland seems like a long ways away right now. I’m sure she will adjust better to her new living situation and I will as a long-distance dad.”