Congratulations to EFC alumni Olivia Van Der Jagt for being drafted in the 3rd round by the OL Reign of the NWSL! After her stellar career at Eastside FC, where her G98's won the National Championship, "Olo" went on to star at the University of Washington. Eastside FC sat down with her and talked about her experiences at Eastside FC, UW, and now as a professional with the OL Reign.
EFC: Describe your journey leading up to being drafted.
OVDJ: I started playing on Eastside when I was a freshman in high school and I immediately knew that this team was something really special. Not only was there a great environment on the team, but I knew that the team was going to challenge me to become a better player and prepare me for college soccer. Winning regionals and competing at nationals were definitely two of my favorite moments on Eastside because I made so many memories with my teammates and was able to compete against some of the best club teams in the nation. This type of competition really prepared me to go in and compete at the college level. I had a really great experience at UW and I grew a lot as a soccer player from freshman year to my fifth year. I was able to play with some amazing players and learn from them and also compete against the top teams in the nation. A big moment for me at UW was making it to the sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament in spring 2021. This was the furthest I had made it in the tournament at UW, so it was a really cool experience to make it that far and play against some really good teams.
EFC: What was draft day like? What was going through your head when you saw your name on the TV?
OVDJ: I was really nervous and excited for draft day! I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect on the day, so I was just watching and hoping for the best. When I got the call that I was going to be drafted, I was so excited and kind of blown away at the same time. It didn’t really feel real until all my emotions came down and I was able to process that this was actually happening. It just made me even more excited to get started!
EFC: Describe the preparations of going into the NWSL and the Reign- expectations, things you are looking forward to. Have you met the team yet?
OVDJ: Once I got drafted, I immediately started preparing for preseason, which starts February 1st. I am currently just training and playing in order to be ready for that start date. I am super excited to get started and meet everyone in person and just jump right into training. I’m excited to be playing with some of the top players in the country and learn from them and ultimately get better from it!
EFC: Is there anything you want to tell players at EFC about playing at this level?
OVDJ: I would tell players to not be afraid to fail in order to get better and learn. It definitely was an adjustment for me going from club soccer to college soccer, but playing at a higher level made me a better player and I’m thankful for the times that I had to struggle in order to get to where I am now.