Freshman Defender Making Early Waves (Women’s Soccer)

Liana B. Baker

By Liana B. BakerThe Daily Northwestern

It was the fifth day of the preseason in mid-August and freshman Leigh Jakes found herself sidelined with a strained quad.

The only activities the 5-foot-7 defender could manage was shagging balls and putting up cones for the team, learning what she could from observation.

By the beginning of October, the Georgia native was back on the field – for the first time last weekend she played two full games. And that pre-season injury didn’t show anymore.

“She’s a different level of player because of her athleticism,” NU coach Stephanie Erickson said. “She hasn’t had to get any stronger or faster to keep up with the pace. She’s already there.”

But for Jakes, athletic excellence runs in her genes. Her father, Van, was a defensive back in the NFL who played for Kansas City, New Orleans and Green Bay from 1983-1991.