|Stephen Glover photo
Scoring six goals and six assists for the black and gold this season, Jackie Roepke ends her high school career as the senior defender for the Oakville High girls' soccer team and prepares to play for the Redbirds of Illinois State University.|
Tigers girls' soccer senior defender knows meaning of 'Oakville Pride'
If you wanted to know the true definition of "Oakville Pride," then you should probably ask Jackie Roepke of the Oakville Senior High School girls' soccer team.
The senior defender easily can explain what "Oakville Pride" is because every time she steps out onto the field, she lives it.
"Oakville Pride" is about playing the game with passion and representing a team that is viewed by many as being the best public school soccer program in the state.
It's also about taking on the area's private schools and knowing that every chance the Tigers step out on the field, they have a chance at winning. That's a thought that is unheard of for many schools in the metropolitan area.
"Playing for (Oakville head) coach (Dave) Robben is all about Oakville Pride," Roepke told the Call.
"There's a certain rivalry between us and the private schools because every time we face them, we know that we have a chance to beat them. When we beat Nerinx, everyone in the community notices it."
Roepke was introduced to the game of soccer at the tender age of 5 years old as she played for Queen of All Saints Catholic Church. She became involved in the sport after watching her older brother Jim play the game.
"I have an older brother who was big into soccer when I was younger," she said. "I would play with him down in the basement or out in the yard. I would play goalkeeper and then he would take shots on me and try to score."
Roepke currently plays for the Busch Soccer Club and has the opportunity not only to travel nationally, but also internationally.
Two years ago Roepke and the Busch Soccer Club traveled to Europe to win the Paris Cup and the Holland Cup.
"It was awesome," Roepke said. "It was by far my favorite trip."
Roepke not only strives for excellence on the field, but also the classroom as she carries an impressive 3.5 grade-point average. She's also involved with the Senior Executive Council, which is responsible for prom and the senior graduation party.
"When her name comes up to other faculty members, they talk about how much of a contributor Jackie is to the classroom," Robben told the Call. "They talk about the fact that she's such a good student."
On the field, one of Roepke's strongest qualities is her ability to track the opposing team's top player and prevent them from generating any offense during the game.
Roepke's also known for having a commanding presence on the field as she handles not only the Oakville defense, but also is known for strategically directing the Tiger offense.
During her career at Oakville Senior High, Roepke's scored six goals and six assists for the black and gold.
"Jackie is one of those players that has that confidence in her ability of being able to mark any player and shut them down," Robben said."Jackie came into the program as a freshman and really played both sides of the ball really well. As a freshman, we saw that not only could she defend, but also attack."
Yet one of the most interesting things about Roepke is how she finds strength in famous quotations and her ability to relate those quotations to the Tigers' current game at hand.
"What she would do would be to check a book or Web site to look for a quote from an author that would relate to our next game," Robben said.
"Jackie's used a wide variety of quotes from Margaret Thatcher to FDR to Mike Ditka. She's a very strong writer and I think that if a player took one idea from what she was doing, then it was definitely worth the effort."
Roepke actually got the idea about handing out famous quotations during her freshman year as then senior goalkeeper Erin Graham would inspire her teammates with inspirational quotations.
"When I was a freshman, Erin Graham would hand out quotes to everyone," Roepke said.
"I had some things from Erin Graham along with my club coach and figured if I could touch one person, then it would be worth it.
"It made a difference for me as a freshman because when the captain is taking that much time to prepare something, it shows how important the game is to them."
Next season, Roepke will play for the Redbirds of Illinois State University where she hopes to study secondary education and possibly coach some day.
"I really don't know what I would teach," Roepke said. "I really love playing soccer and I see myself as being a coach someday."
It looks as if Roepke has a head start in the field of teaching by showing her teammates what "Oakville Pride" is all about.