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Senior leads team, prepares for college level soccer

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

Aside from playing on the girls varsity soccer team, senior Jenna Bynum (5) plays on the California Odyssey Soccer Club.

For some people, playing sports and being apart of a team are their main passions in life. From playing club soccer to supporting girls on the field, senior Jenna Bynum pursues playing the sport that she loves. Her involvement on the California Odyssey Soccer Club team motivates her to excel in pursuing a career in professional soccer.

Bynum plays left defense for the California Odyssey Soccer Club, whose mission is to “elevate the passion and spirit of soccer and to help players learn to love and respect the game”. Since starting on the team, she has seen immense growth in her soccer abilities.

I play club soccer because it motivates me to be a better athlete,” Bynum said. “Club soccer motivates me to be more athletic because we are running for 90 minutes at a time in games and at practice. Some of the best experiences I’ve had with soccer have been making friendships with the girls on the team.”

When school and club soccer collide, Bynum practices for hours each week and plays multiple games on the weekends. While she highly enjoys the sport, her commitment causes her to miss out on other fun activities, such as hanging out with friends.

Bynum’s school soccer coach and father, David Bynum, gets to watch his daughter progress on and off the field. David guides Bynum to be the best she can be and is proud of her accomplishments over the years.

“This is my first year coaching Jenna in high school,” David said. “So far it has been a great experience. I’ve watched her play soccer her whole life and got to see all the improvements as she grew up. Now I get to see the leadership role she has picked up. During her comp season, she will practice long hours each week. She gets frustrated when she could be doing something fun and she is out playing soccer.”

Cayla Rivas | The Feather Online

At practice, Bynum is an example to younger players and helps mentor them.

First-year varsity girls soccer coach, Matt Markarian, coached the varsity boys soccer team for the past 23 years. Markarian anticipates great things as he takes on the new challenge of coaching the girls’ team.

“Each year brings a new group of athletes,” Markarian said. “They are each amazing in their own way. Already this year I have seen great skill in Jenna. She leads us in every game with her effort. Jenna is one of the most skilled players in the Valley and has already signed to play at Fresno Pacific next year.”

Colleges aren’t the only ones looking to Jenna for her athletic abilities. Incoming freshman, Sarah Smith, looks up to Bynum for encouragement and leadership as she plays soccer for the first time this year.

“Jenna has a lot of patience with for us new girls on the team,” Smith said. “She is always encouraging us even when we are feeling down about ourselves. If someone is degrading you or talking down to you she will stand up for you and make you feel like you’re worth it. When I start giving up, she encourages me to keep going and run after every ball. There was one time when I was going after this girl and I missed the ball. It really let me down but she motivated me to get back up and keep going.”

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

Bynum plans on playing soccer at Fresno Pacific University next fall.

Most of Bynum’s time and energy is used to work towards playing in college. Bynum dedicated her junior and senior year to Fresno Pacific and looks forward to playing for the team during her college experience.  

Come out to support Bynum and the rest of the Lady Eagles on Dec. 12. The girls will be facing off against Wonderful College Prep Academy at the FC North Field Stadium.

For more girls soccer profiles, check out Profile: Lauryn Tucker leads soccer, cheer teams. For more articles, read Haw provides different angle on Executive Order 9066.

Addison Schultz can be reached via email: Addison Schultz and via twitter @SchultzAddison.

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