CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Each Tuesday through the women’s soccer season, Charlotte49ers.com will feature alumnae of the program in celebration of the program’s 20th campaign in 2013. Former players were selected at random for the Q&A and the plan was to include all eras of the program, dating back to its inception in 1994.
This week’s edition features Jill Currie (1997-2000). Currie, a Shelby, N.C., native, played two years for Robbie Church and two seasons for Neil Roberts. She was a member of the program’s first NCAA Tournament squad in 1998. She started 72 of the 84 games in which she played, tallying 31 goals and 26 assists for 88 points. She added eight game-winning goals and 200 shots during her career.
Currie is high among the program’s all-time best for shots (tied for first), goals (fourth), points (fifth), game-winning goals (tied for fifth) and assists (tied for seventh).
Her career got off to a blitzing start, earning Conference USA Freshman of the Year honors in 1997. She then became the program’s first two-time Conference USA Player of the Year, collecting the accolade in 1999 and 2000, and was a member of the league’s all-decade team announced in 2004. She garnered Soccer Buzz Freshman All-America First Team plaudits after her inaugural campaign and was selected to play for the Central team at the 2001 Umbro Select All-Star Game.
Currie added All-Southeast Region awards from NSCAA/Umbro and Soccer Buzz three times during her illustrious career in addition to two All-Conference USA First Team (1999, 2000) and two All-Conference USA Second Team (1997, 1998) spots. Three times the league recognized her as its offensive player of the week.
1. What factors led to your decision to attend Charlotte?
Robbie Church was my ODP coach while I was in high school. I enjoyed his coaching style and had Charlotte on my short list of schools I wanted to attend. After taking a visit and watching some games, I felt like it was the right fit for me. They had just opened the Transamerica Field and the new field house. Also, I had a strong freshman class entering Charlotte with me: Sarah (Judy) Denton, Cori Ray, Meredith (Mayo) Smith, Krissy (Fisher) Hess and Kelly (Allison) Morgan.
2. How did you see yourself grow as a soccer player and as a person during your collegiate career?
Like most freshman, I was not 100% sure what to expect. I had some ideas of what college soccer would be like, but I spent the first year earning my spot on the team and trying to achieve personal goals. My sophomore year we had a very strong team. This was the year Charlotte made the NCAA Tournament; I really grew as a player. I understood the expectations and demands of college soccer and really enjoyed playing with the 1998 team. As a junior, it was a rebuilding year. We had lost a strong class the year before. However, we had some wonderful players come in to support the program: Mikel (Casey) Bass, Jenn (Howell) Tilley, Jennie (Leeder) Clark, Shannon (Roberto) Brown, and Laura Lockwood, just to name a few. I found myself in a leadership role, pushing the team to be our best on the field. I was personally playing at a high level and I wanted to help the entire team. As a senior, I was surprised to realize how fast the first three years went by. I know everybody says this, but I wanted to enjoy every game. I found myself savoring the time with my teammates. Overall, in my four years at UNC Charlotte, I experienced a lot of personal growth -- becoming a better person, teammate, friend -- and I am very grateful for that.
3. What are some of your fondest memories of playing soccer with the 49ers?
Like everybody I have those, “remember when” stories. When we all get together, they always come out and we have a wonderful laugh. But for me, looking back at Charlotte, my fondest memories are playing with my older sister Sarah Currie. She transferred into Charlotte from the University of Florida as a junior, when I came in as a freshman. We played together for two years. I loved playing with her. She was my biggest fan and would also let me know what I was doing wrong. I can’t tell you how many times she yelled at me to get back on defense. She was a wonderful person to have on the team. Very calm, very caring to others but she was a really tough and skilled player. She is my favorite player I ever played with. I loved when my entire family would be in the stands cheering us on. It was a very special time in my life that I will always remember.
4. How often do you play soccer these days?
Up until about three years ago, I was playing a few times a week. Unfortunately, I broke my leg and ankle playing indoor soccer one night in June and it seems that my soccer days are over. I am still a big fan. I watch a lot of Manchester United and as many national team games as I can.
5. Where are you currently living (city, state)?
I just built a house in Greer, S.C.
6. What is your current occupation?
Operations Manager for The Steritech Group, Inc.
7. Do you have any family (husband/kids/pets)?
No husband or pets
8. What advice would you offer to a current 49ers women’s soccer player?
Fight for each other on and off the field. You will be a better team when you know the person playing beside you really does care about you.