Last ride for senior

Jessie de Boer reflects on past five years

Jessie de Boer has picked up six goals in eight starts this season.
Jessie de Boer has picked up six goals in eight starts this season.

With five years playing for the Gaels, forward Jessie de Boer is the most senior player on the women’s soccer team.

Now in her final year, de Boer sees the 2015-16 roster as similar to the team in her first year during the 2011-12 season. The Gaels won 11 games that year, finishing first with a .875 winning percentage. She describes that team as 11 players who were strong at their positions. This year, she believes, there are 15 players who can step up and help the team win.

“This is one of the strongest teams we’ve ever had. We have better skilled and developed players,” de Boer said.

As a veteran on the team, part of de Boer’s role is helping younger players gain an understanding of the team’s system and the league as a whole. 

“[I] show the younger players what our style is about, what the OUA is about. They might not understand how important each game is,” she said. “I support them to play at their best, so that we are a united front.” 

While the team had a slow start, there’s been a reversal of fortune as the team has gone undefeated in their last four games.

She said they’d consistently come out on the losing end of close games earlier in the season. “We gave up one goal here and there,” she said. “Now, we’ve come into our form, and found our own system.”

On a more technical front, the team has shifted from playing in a 4-4-2 formation (4 defenders, 4 midfield and 2 strikers), to a 4-3-3 formation, which de Boer says enables them to play a more free-flowing style. This has led to success in the current season, as it suits the capabilities of the players. 

Personally, de Boer said she’s had a great amount of time to figure out how to be at her best, especially on the mental side of the game. She said she’s realized how to best contribute to the game.

“My second and third years were not as good because I had too much pressure,” she said. “I’ve found what works best for me.” 

Queen’s currently sits at fifth place in the OUA East, with four games left in the regular season. Undoubtedly, it’ll take a combination of strong play from both de Boer and the younger players to make a push for a higher spot in the standings.

She said when she was a first year herself, she was impacted greatly by senior players, particular her partner in the central midfield, Chantal McFetridge. As a fourth year on the 2011-2012 team, McFetridge was a major influence in the development of de Boer’s career. 

“She was really encouraging. I try to tap into that,” de Boer said.

With her final season wrapping up, de Boer takes the responsibilty of mentor that once belonged to McFerridge. She knows that it’ll take some teammates with little playoff expereince to make the difference.

“I believe in the younger players,” she said.

 

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