In her three years of playing soccer at Purdue University, Jessica Warren has moved from position to position and has done everything asked of her.
Entering her senior year she’ll take on another role, that of team captain.
The former Avon High School athlete left the school in the top 15 of the all-time career list in goals (33) and assists (24). In three years at Purdue she has appeared in 59 games with 34 starts, and contributed six goals, three assists, and 15 points.
“She’s really built over her previous three years, and I think she’s built really good relationships with players on the team,” Purdue coach Robert Klatte said. “Essentially, every single one of her teammates was voting for her when we went through our recommendations for captains.”
Warren was named captain of the squad in early March. Since then, she’s been working with her teammates in spring games and workouts.
“I would say that the timing was a surprise,” Warren said of being named captain. “It was something I had talked to the coaches about and wanted to work for and earn.”
As captain, Warren is trying to bring a different aspect to her game in the fall. She said she always felt like a “leader by example” but needed to become more verbal.
“It is a little bit different, it’s challenging for me at times,” she said. “Becoming a captain has definitely forced me to step up and be more vocal and hold people accountable, as well as myself.”
Her offensive statistics don’t stand out like they did in high school because Warren has played almost every position for the Boilermakers. She will move to defensive midfield once the season gets underway.
“This past spring I worked a lot as a defensive mid, so I feel comfortable with it,” she said. “I’ve moved around a lot. Sometimes it’s hard to get adjusted to one position, but I’m feeling good about it and I’m more confident in that position now.”
Her carousel of position changing might not end this season, however. Warren doesn’t expect to stay in the backfield all season long and Klatte knows he will probably need to use her in other areas.
“She’s capable of playing a lot of positions ... and certainly she can score goals,” he said. “For us, one of the challenges is every time we move her back to a holding midfielder role or a defensive position, that’s giving up goals that she’s traditionally scored for us.”
Warren wouldn’t mind netting a few more goals in her final year.
“I hope to have the opportunity,” she said. “It’s harder when you’re at back, but I hope to be able to contribute some goals to the season ... I’m never expecting just to play one position.”
Warren has already talked a little with the team about goals for the season and she likes where the squad is headed. She noted that the team ended the season last year much improved.
They want to compete in the end of the year tournaments, finish high in the conference, and even try to win the Big Ten.
“Really, I have nothing to lose,” Warren said. “I’m excited to just give it my all for this last fall and to just be with the girls.”