Jan. 3, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- University of Georgia defender Jenna Buckley this week confirmed her plans to use her final year of eligibility and return in 2012 as a redshirt senior, according to an announcement by soccer head coach Steve Holeman.
Buckley – who took a redshirt as a freshman as she rehabbed a knee injury suffered in high school – battled her way back to full health over the past three seasons and earned a starting role in 2011 as a redshirt junior. The Atlanta native has played in 72 games as a Bulldog making 28 starts. She earned her first career points in 2011, finishing with three assists on the year including in the NCAA first round vs. Kansas.
An outstanding student, Buckley is an SEC Academic Honor Roll selection and in November was named first team CoSIDA Academic All-District.
“It was a hard decision, but it was really a win-win situation,” Buckley said. “Playing soccer another year would be amazing, but moving on – like I had planned to do all along – would be good, too. But after seeing how I felt when this past season ended, and knowing I missed the team and the sport so much, I talked with my family and friends and it became a no-brainer. I want to win an SEC championship and be a good leader. I want to play again.”
“We are all very excited that Jenna has decided to play out her eligibility,” said Georgia associate head coach Dan Blank, who works primarily with the defenders. “She had a sensational season and has evolved into a tremendous organizer of our defense. Her instincts for the game have always been exceptional, and the experience she gained this past year will make her even more valuable. Jenna’s understanding of our defensive set-up is uncanny. She understands everyone’s role and knows where all the pieces should be at any given time and that’s a pretty priceless quality.”
“It’s a real testament to Jenna that she stuck it out and supported her teammates and patiently kept doing her best under very difficult circumstances [during her career]. Her resilience has been inspiring to everyone in this program and it’s awesome to see her get her moment in the spotlight.”