Minnesota Soccer head coach Mikki Denney Wright announced today that Jennifer Walek’s no. 19 jersey will be retired in a halftime ceremony during the Gophers’ match with Ohio State on Oct. 19. Walek, the program’s all-time leading scorer, will become just the second Golden Gopher soccer player to have her jersey retired, joining Jennifer McElmury. McElmury’s no. 27 jersey was retired in 2004.
Walek (1993-1997) was a member of Minnesota’s two Big Ten Championship teams (1995 and 1997) and is arguably the greatest player in Gopher history. She holds nearly all of Minnesota’s career and single-season scoring records, including points (162), goals (60) and assists (42) in a career, as well as points (53 in ’93), goals (22 in ’93) and assists (18 in ’95) in a season. Walek was named the Big Ten’s Player of the Year in 1995, was a three-time All-Big Ten selection and was a two-time NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region honoree.
In addition, Walek holds the program’s career marks for games (89), games started (89) and game-winning goals (17). The former health and wellness major was also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection
“Not only was Jennifer an incredible player, but she’s an incredible person as well,” said Denney Wright, who played alongside Walek for three seasons at Minnesota. “She set the standard at Minnesota for forwards and attacking players and is a huge part of this program’s rich tradition.”
Walek (now Jennifer Rippentrop by marriage) is a former elementary school physical education teacher and currently stays home with her two children. The Lake Elmo, Minn. native attended North St. Paul High School.
“This is a huge honor for me and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Walek about the Oct. 19 ceremony. “It’s going to be great for my family and friends to gather at the U’ again.”
The entire 1997 Big Ten Championship team, which includes both Walek and McElmury, will be honored at a special alumni celebration at the Big Ten Tournament on Nov. 9-10 at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. 2007 marks the 10th anniversary of the Gophers’ last conference championship and will be the first time Minnesota has hosted the event since that year. For more information, visit www.gophersports.com.Jennifer Walek (1993-97) All-Time Minnesota Soccer Rankings
- Minnesota’s all-time career points leader (162)
- Minnesota’s all-time career goals leader (60)
- Minnesota’s all-time career assists leader (42)
- Minnesota’s single-season points leader (53 in '93)
- Minnesota’s single-season goals leader (22 in '93)
- Minnesota’s single season assists leader (18 in '95)
- Minnesota’s career leader in games played (89)
- Minnesota’s career leader in games started (89)
- Minnesota’s career leader in game-winning goals (17)
- Owns top two single-season point totals in program history
- Owns two of top three single-season goal totals in program history
- Member of two Big Ten Championship teams ('95 and '97)
- Big Ten Player of the Year 1995
- Three-time All-Big Ten First Team Selection
- Two-time NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region Selection
- Three-time Academic All-Big Ten Selection