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XV Questions with Jessica Watkins

Tuesday Aug 11, 2009 in Awards and Profiles Profiles

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(Ian Muir photo)

XV Questions with Jessica Watkins
Women’s Profile

Jessica Watkins is a player of undoubted talent. She is very fast and, as former USA 7s coach Julie McCoy said, she is a game-changer. But all has not been smooth for the 21-year-old Stanford student. She has won championships and international 7s matches with her pace, but has also found herself making mistakes on some very big stages, and catching plenty of heat for it.

Still, say coaches, don't count her out. What Watkins brings to the table, not only in potential but in short-term-payoff ability is rare, and as you will see below, she is one who dreams big.

With the USA women's 7s team entering a new phase with a new coach and new selection cycle, we met up with one player who could be a big part of it all.

Height: 5’5”

Weight: 125

Birthplace: Gaithersburg , Md.

Birthdate: May 14, 1988 (21)

Residence: Stanford , CA

Occupation: Student

College: Stanford University

Years playing rugby: Three

Position: Fullback/wing

Present club: Stanford Women’s Rugby


Eagle 7s matches: Five tournaments

US Under 19 Matches:
England tour (3 matches)

US Under 23 Matches: Five developmental 7s tournaments

Territorial / Local Union Experience: None

Here are XV questions (and answers) with Jessica Watkins:

1.How were you introduced to rugby?
I wanted to play a competitive, non-varsity sport when I got to college and I signed up for rugby at a Stanford Activities Fair.

2. Biggest influence on rugby career: All of my teammates and opponents have influenced me. But I would not have a rugby career without coach Jonathan Griffin at Stanford and coaches Julie McCoy, Chris Ryan, Pete Steinberg, and Sue Parker during my National 7s journey.

3. Best memory in rugby: Winning the 2008 National Collegiate Championship with Stanford. The 7s World Cup wasn’t too bad either

4. Biggest disappointment in rugby: Losing the 2007 National Collegiate Championship was tough.

Childhood rugby hero: I didn’t know enough about rugby in my childhood to have a rugby hero.

6. What tours have to been on? National Team tours to Amsterdam 2008 , Bahamas 2008, Dubai 2008, San Diego 2009 and Dubai 2009. Best country visited? Amsterdam

7. Observations on US rugby: It’s great to see rugby growing in popularity as we begin to recognize the importance of sparking interest in our nation’s youth.

8. Area where US rugby needs work: Providing more opportunities for younger girls to stay involved with rugby.

9. Area where rugby has improved: Rugby in the States has grown in popularity and interest.

10. What are your personal goals? I want to become an astronaut after graduation and go to graduate school. 

11. Your Favorites
Other sports:
Basketball, soccer, snowboarding and skiing.
Leisure interests: Listening to music, writing, napping (I can sleep anywhere, any time) and flying planes.
Post-match ritual: Eating cinnamon muffins and then taking a long nap!
Character in literature: Jesus. Growing up, I absolutely loved the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. I learned a lot from that girl!
Films: Love and Basketball, Love Actually, Little Miss Sunshine, Shawshank Redemption, Fight Club, The Incredibles, Crash
Character in film: Dash in The Incredibles
TV programs: Scrubs, Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl , America ’s Next Top Model
Music: Hip hop, rap, gospel

12. The best ... 
Playing field: Stanford’s Steuber Stadium is pretty amazing.
Tournament: 2008 National Collegiate Championship!
Coach: Every coach has strengths and weaknesses.

Most embarrassing moment in rugby: In my three years playing rugby, I have run the ball out of the try zone and knocked-on in the try zone three times.

14. Most difficult ...
Opposing team:
Penn State , England

Opponent: It is difficult to pick just one most difficult opponent- I have learned something from every international and domestic game I’ve played in. I respect and admire my opponents for teaching me those things.

15. Give us a quote:
"Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?’

“Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." 
                                                           -Marianne Williamson


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