Super Seven Spotlight: Senior Jennie Clark Clark is an early pick for this year's Hermann Trophy.
In an eight-part series leading up to the 2010 Minnesota soccer season, Gophersports.com will profile each of the team's seven seniors along with the program's longtime student manager. This week, we profile two-time First Team All-Big Ten honoree Jennie Clark.
There hasn't been a lot of time off for senior defender Jennie Clark since she first arrived on campus four years ago. The Norwalk, Iowa native was one of three freshmen defenders thrown right into the action in 2007 along with Kylie Kallman and Angie Olson. Despite their inexperience, the trio of newcomers guided Minnesota's defense to one of the best seasons in the Big Ten, allowing on average just 1.16 goals a game and recording seven shutouts. Clark appeared in 17 games in her first year with the program; starting the last 16 games of the season.
She hasn't been out of the starting lineup since.
Such a demanding learning curve in her freshman year certainly paid off in 2008 when Clark earned SoccerBuzz Fourth Team All-America accolades as a sophomore and the Gophers earned a share of the Big Ten championship. Along with goaltender Lindsey Dare, the Minnesota defense set school records in wins (22), shutouts (17) and goals against average (0.45). The Norwalk, Iowa native also scored both of her career goals in 2008.
Clark followed up her sophomore campaign with another excellent performance in 2009. The Gophers defense recorded another one of Minnesota's best seasons while Clark picked up her second-straight First Team All-Big Ten and All-Region honors.
"Jennie has been a truly special player in our program," Gophers head coach Mikki Denney Wright said. "She has raised our defensive standard as Gopher Soccer to an entire different level, and helped build one of the best back lines in the history of the Big Ten."
This season, Clark has already been tagged as one of the premier players in the nation. The defender became the first-ever Gophers soccer player named to the Hermann Trophy watch list. The award is given annually to the top women's college soccer player in the country.
"Jennie's development both on and off the field has been truly remarkable. She has always been an incredible athlete, but through hard work, commitment and determination she has built herself into a phenomenal soccer player," Denney Wright said. "Jennie will be a highly successful player in the future at the international level and we look forward to following her play for years to come. We are proud that she is part of Gopher Soccer!"