I’m a first generation of the soccer girls so we didn’t have any mentors, and that’s why I give back and to the community. Sport is just a piece of it, but building good character and good people is more important.
Despite a prestigious athletic scholarship awaiting her in Florida, Jacquie Hertlein couldn’t turn down the opportunity to become one of the first members of Cougar Athletics’ alumni when she was invited to play striker for the inaugural Mount Royal College Women’s Soccer team in 1994. Mount Royal’s small class sizes and niche criminology program complemented the excitement of joining the team by providing a promising career beyond the athletic experience – all in her hometown.
“When I look back to my journey as a Cougar, there were a lot of interesting dynamics within this new, competitive women’s team led by a male coaching staff. The coach was learning, we were learning and I think I gained a ton of personal growth on how to manage people, manage myself and make sure I was leading by example. I was the first to get to practice and the last to leave,” says Hertlein.
Mount Royal was the right path for her academically, athletically and personally. At the time, student athleticism was highly recognized in local media and Hertlein fondly remembers participating in interviews that documented her success as team captain, tournament All-Star and highest goal-scorer throughout her Mount Royal career.
The challenges and rewards of Hertlein’s experience as a student athlete helped develop her ambitious skill-set that led her to achieve many levels of athletic success and serve an 18-year career as a local police officer and sergeant. Hertlein has paved pathways to help young women navigate male-dominated industries and continues to do so; for example, Hertlein is the current coach of Alberta’s U13 Girls South provincial soccer team, coach of the SAIT Women’s Soccer team, a member of the Development in Women’s Soccer Committee and is the first woman on the Technical Committee of the Alberta Soccer Association.
Ultimately, what is it about Jacquie that motivates her to operate at this level? Her drive to give back and be a positive mentor for young women.
“Being that role model for younger girls that I didn’t have. I’m a first generation of the soccer alumni, so we didn’t have any mentors and that is why I give back to Mount Royal and to the community. Sport is just a piece of it, but building good character and good people is more important.”