If you were one of the 20 million people who tuned into the Women's World Cup series, you may have seen a familiar face from O2 Fitness Elliott Road. Professional athlete Jessica McDonald is a local NC Courage player who can now add World Cup champion to her resume. Congratulations to Jessica on behalf of all of us at O2 Fitness!
How old were you when you began playing soccer? What made you fall in love with the sport?
I started when I was about 12 years old. I fell in love by the time I was 16 when I really knew my potential.
When did you realize you wanted to pursue soccer as your professional career?
I knew when I was a senior in college. My junior year is when we had a women’s pro league. Then I had realized I had the potential to make it professionally.
Many people work out as a hobby to destress from work. As a professional athlete, how do you view working out? Does it feel like your job, or something you enjoy?
Most days, it definitely something that I enjoy. If I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. Of course there are days I don’t want to work out or train. But that’s where mental toughness plays a huge role.
Was there ever a time in your life where you were in a fitness rut, or dealing with an injury? How did you overcome that?
Definitely. I fully ruptured my patellar tendon when I was a rookie with little chance of playing at a high level again. I had to rely on my faith and support system at the time to just keep pushing.
How has O2 helped you prepare for your NC Courage season and ultimately the USWNT?
What’s an example of an offseason workout you do at O2?
If I have fitness to do, the treadmills have been phenomenal when I need to run at full speed.
What motivates you on and off the soccer field?
My son. He keeps me going and it makes me want to do better everyday.
What was the toughest part of the World Cup series?
Just mentally staying in it. There’s a lot that goes on throughout the tournament and sometimes you just need to shut your brain off at times.
You’re a World Champion! How does it feel?
It’s such a tough feeling to describe. When you want to reach a goal or your dream comes true, it’s almost relieving because of all of the hard work you’ve put into that moment of success. Overall, I’m just overwhelmed with joy!