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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Soccer

Jazmin Grant’s journey through soccer


Grant started in nine matches for the Cougars in 2018, notching five goals, including an overtime game-wiiner versus ECU. | File photo/The Cougar

Jazmin Grant started in nine matches for the Cougars in 2018 and notched five goals, including an overtime game-winner versus ECU. | File photo/The Cougar

Jazmin Grant, Houston’s electric junior striker, has found success in practically every factor of soccer.  

Whether at the collegiate level, where she has amassed 10 goals and six assists in her two seasons with the Cougars, or at the international level with the Jamaica U-20 national team, with her goal against Nicaragua at the 2019 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, Grant has flourished. She even dominated the field in high school, as she earned both first- and second-team All-State honors after leading Atascocita High School with 72 goals in three years. 

While UH’s Aug. 11 exhibition match against HBU has come and gone, Grant has her eyes set on more success in her third year with the Cougars. 

The key? Her team.

“We’re trying to build team chemistry on and off the field,” Grant said. “Just trying to control the things we can control, and things we can’t control we just have to move on and work past it.” 

On top of it being the start of a new year, this season’s exhibition match also had an important connection to what inspired her pursuit of the game she loves. 

Devon Grant, her older brother and former defender for HBU, influenced her to participate in the world’s most popular sport back in high school. 

Two years her senior, Devon always had aspirations of being a professional and pushed his younger sister to continue their joint pursuit of the game. The two are some of the most talented soccer players to come out of Atascocita.

“Honestly, I don’t think I would have played soccer without my brother,” Grant said. “My brother started playing before I did. He always made me work throughout all of this.” 

Although Grant had the connection to her opening-match opponent, her eyes are now set on Houston’s regular season finale at SMU on Oct. 31. Since Grant’s freshman season in 2017, the Cougars have lost both meetings against the Mustangs 1-0 and 3-0, respectively. 

Both resulted in the team missing out on an American Athletic Conference Championship Tournament bid.

The Halloween meeting could be a decisive one in determining Houston’s postseason chances, which Grant has yet to experience as a Cougar. 

Along with defeating the Mustangs for the first time in her collegiate career, Grant has her eyes set on reaching the AAC Tournament for the first time in her career and the first conference tournament appearance for the Cougars since their 2012 loss to Colorado College in the Conference USA opening round.

Along with her continued development at UH and Jamaica, Grant will eye another successful season as one of the Cougars’ lead players and hope to match one of her favorite memories as a Cougar: scoring the winning goal in overtime against East Carolina last season.

She prefers, however, a game-winning assist instead.

“I’d rather it,” Grant said. “I’m not a person that I like all eyes on me. I’d just rather be in the bag.”

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