Jordan Smith

Cal State East Bay |


A three-year starting goalkeeper for the CSU East Bay women’s soccer team, Jordan has overcome many challenges in her young life. At age 7, her father passed away, leaving her mother to care for Jordan, her twin brother, and a younger brother. The combination of grief, mental illness, and financial instability made for a very challenging environment growing up in Gardnerville, Nevada. Like many youngsters, she found her escape in soccer early on in life. The team environment and competitiveness made it a place of belonging.

While soccer was her escape, upon earning the starting job for the Pioneers as a freshman, it also became a stressor as she began to experience performance anxiety. She put extra pressure on herself to perform, which, in turn, manifested into panic attacks during pre-game warmups. With the help of the university’s therapy programs, she implemented a pre-game meditation routine that helped tremendously.

The success of the meditation program encouraged her to restart individual therapy to help herself both on the field and in life. She knew her next hurdle would be to come out as gay to her coaches and teammates to ensure she could be her true self. Although she admits she is still a work in progress, she hopes to help others by sharing her vulnerabilities in her visible role as the president of the StudentAthletes Advisory Council (SAAC). She believes her openness will help ease the stigma of mental health amongst her peers.

“It has been a challenge balancing school, soccer, jobs, clubs, and mental health along with everything else that comes with being a woman in college,” said Jordan. “It has given me so much confidence and has really helped me develop into the person I always dreamed of becoming. It was isolating my first year of college, as I didn’t know how to reach out for help. Fortunately, my coaches and peers recognized I was struggling and helped provide me with the tools and support I needed to improve my mental health.”

On the pitch, she has started 54 games in three seasons for the Pioneers. She earned All- California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Honorable Mention and CSU East Bay Freshman of the Year honors. After the cancellation of the 2020 season, she returned in 2021 to lead the team to the CCAA Conference championship with a 0.87 goals against average and a school record 10 shutouts. This season she was named a team captain and recorded three shutouts while playing every minute of the season.