Jenna Matsukubo’s soccer career experienced a seismic shift when she came to Queen’s—how could she know that within a month of her rookie season, she would be a star?
For Matsukubo, playing at Queen’s was a new adventure. In high school, her schedule wasn’t nearly as stringent. Now, she’s practicing on the field four days a week.
“It was a shock to me to be on the field, [the other teams are] extremely physical,” Matsukubo said in an interview with The Journal.
All that nervous energy didn’t last long. Or if it did, it didn’t affect her. She scored the game-winner in her first regular season game.
Matsukubo’s success came in the Gaels’ opening weekend game against the Ryerson Rams where she scored the second goal of the game and her first U SPORTS goal, leading the Gaels with a 2-1 win.
In the same weekend, against the U of T Varsity Blues, Matsukubo skillfully assisted her teammate Christie Gray in the first and eventually deciding goal of the game, securing a 1-0 victory over Toronto.
Her best moment came in her fourth game when she scored a highlight-reel goal against Toronto, running half the length of the field, between two Toronto defenders, and finally curling a perfect strike over the goaltender.
“That one goal against U of T, I was on the screens at the ARC and I was like, ‘Whoa.’”
The success has been a long time coming. Matsukubo has been playing soccer since she
was four, but she’s never been on a winning team.
“[The feeling] is indescribable. I love being at every practice, getting touches on the ball. Within the game, setting personal goals for myself and being able to accomplish those goals is a great feeling,” she said.
This year has been a significant adjustment for Matsukubo. Coming into Queen’s, she was concerned about the speed of the game, and she wasn’t sure whether she would start.
She’s proven to be a fast player, owing to her background in soccer and track. Her speed paired with her observant attitude on the field makes her a dynamic player and a great communicator.
Despite her strengths, Matsukubo consistently searches for improvement on the field. She came to Queen’s with personal goals. She hopes to become a more physical player to adapt to the demands of Queen’s soccer.
“I want to go to nationals,” Matsukubo explained. “But for now, I am not used to much of the physical game—that, I am working on.”
Matsukubo’s determination and strong will allow her to succeed on the field and push her to be better off of it. She goes to practices an hour early to work on techniques with Head Coach Dave McDowell.
She’s looking forward to the next four years and everything they have to offer, from honing her skills to making memories with new teammates. Matsukubo is ready. She wants to win a national championship in a Queen’s jersey.
“Soccer has to be your passion to pursue it at university. I can’t wait for the next four years.”
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