Ready to be a Pepperdine Wave

Ready to be a Pepperdine Wave

Natalie Wong

Junior Jackie Pedrazza’s college worries are already over after verbally committing to Pepperdine University

Most seniors are just about ready to finish up and send in their college applications. Then it’s another six months of waiting before they will receive any news. But for junior Jackie Pedrazza — she already knows where she’s going after graduation.

With an impressive showing at the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Tournament in Lancaster, Massachusetts last summer, Pedrazza, a talented center back for the De Anza Force, caught the attention of a number of top universities. After looking through her offers, it came down to a choice between Cal and Pepperdine, the two universities that recruited her. 
"[Pepperdine] is perfect for me academically; it’s small and has what I want to major in. The coaches are the greatest— they’re all really nice," Pedrazza said.

She talked with her family and coaches and even sought out her De Anza Force teammate senior Michelle Pao  who has also recently committed to Pepperdine as a central defender — for advice.    

"[Pedrazza] has grown a lot—physically and in her game. She used to be kind of short, but she’s grown a lot bigger and that’s what central defenders need to be — big and strong," Pao said.  "Her height and her way of reading the game, marking players and tackling would put her at an advantage when she gets to Pepperdine."

By the end of the summer, she confidently made the decision to verbally commit to Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Because Pedrazza has verbally committed to Pepperdine, other universities are not allowed to recruit her. However, she still has the option to renege on this offer until February before she signs her National Letter of Intent, which will officially declare her commitment to Pepperdine. 

Pedrazza’s intense dedication to her club team involves practicing five hours with the team, in addition to three hours of conditioning on her own or with a trainer every week. 

"I always see her practicing," her little brother freshman Stefan Pedrazza said. "And sometimes, I hear her talking about having rough days at practice."

However, Pedrazza chooses not to play on the school team because of time constraints. As a freshman, she was a member of the MVHS varsity soccer team but decided not to continue playing for the school because of her other commitments, which include her regular club soccer practices. In addition, she was often placed out of her usual center back position by her coach and assigned to play as a striker or midfielder instead.

With Pedrazza’s path to college set, she will face less pressure applying to college next year, but still has to stay in shape and maintain her grades. In addition, she must go through the application process during the fall of her senior year to ensure that she has fulfilled the proper graduation requirements. 

She hopes that by the time she enters as the class of 2015, Pepperdine will have moved up from its current third place ranking to either first or second place in their league. In a few years, Pedrazza may find herself out on the field as a Wave, leading the team’s defense to success in the West Coast Conference.