Jackie Tessier almost hung up her cleats for good.
Soccer and music are the two major passions of the Winnipeg native and fourth-year striker for the Gaels. Convinced she couldn’t pursue both at university, Tessier was ready to quit the sport all together.
It wasn’t until Gaels women’s soccer coach Dave McDowell convinced Tessier she could continue both that she decided to play on. Since then, she’s managed just fine.
“You couldn’t really turn that down — to do both your passions at once,” she said.
She’s also a trumpet major and is very active within Queen’s music faculty. This year, she’s serving as the musical director for Queen’s Musical Theatre’s production of the play Sweeney Todd, which will run from Nov. 30 to Dec. 8.
“Music has always been a really important part of my life,” she said. “I definitely don’t regret having gone into it.”
Tessier is also a member of the Queen’s Wind Ensemble — a position that has crossed paths with her soccer career before.
The ensemble performs each year in the Queen’s Showcase Concert, which coincides with the soccer team’s northern trip to Laurentian and Nipissing both last season and this season.
With the support of her family, Tessier has gone to extreme lengths to accommodate both of her interests.
“Last [year], my dad drove through the night while I slept in the backseat to get me there on time,” she said.
Tessier has harnessed that dedication to become one of the CIS’ most lethal strikers for the past three seasons.
She’s scored over 50 career goals and won two national championships, garnering top honours like the OUA East’s Most Valuable Player and a CIS First-Team All-Canadian nod.
The previous two seasons, Tessier played alongside fellow All-Canadian Kelli Chamberlain.Together, the duo formed the most feared front line in Canada, with great chemistry on the pitch.
Chamberlain graduated after the 2011 season. This year, Tessier has mostly played with second-year striker Breanna Burton.
“I definitely miss [Chamberlain] … we clicked very well and played excellently off each other,” Tessier said.
“[Burton and I] are really coming together. We play a different style up front now, but I think it’s working well for the team we have.”
The fallout from Chamberlain’s departure has been non-existent thus far. Tessier sits second in OUA scoring with 10 goals, while Burton’s six goals put her in a tie for fourth.
Despite dropping from the CIS’ first overall ranking to seventh this season, Tessier is happy with the play of the women’s soccer team so far.
“We had a little bit of a rocky start, but that’s how it is when you have new people shifting around and playing new positions,” she said.
“In the last few weeks, [we’ve] really come through and put up some good results, so I’m optimistic for the rest of the season.”
Even with a few personnel changes, Tessier believes this year’s team has what it takes to repeat as national champions.
“We treat every year after a championship as a completely new season,” she said. “The girls are really bringing out their passion this year, and we have the drive to do our very best.”
— With files from Peter Morrow
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