Up Close: Jaime Rendich-Beck

Favorite cold cereal: Banana Almond Granola

Favorite Jennifer Rockwood quote:

I chose soccer over other sports because: It takes endurance, speed, skill and mental toughness to be successful. Itýýs a challenging sport.

Before a game I: Listen to music and imagine how I will play in the game.

How did I spend my off-season: Working out at Gold's Gym and enjoying the time off.

Who has had the greatest influence on my soccer career and why: My parents. They have done so much for me and I wanted to repay them for all their time and money in my success by playing my best every game and getting a scholarship to a Division I school. BYU was their ideal school for me to attend.

What do I want to be doing 20 years from now: Coaching my kids in soccer or any sport and maybe playing in some old folks league.

Who is the best soccer player/team I have ever faced: Florida, my sophomore year.

What would I like to do sometime in my life: I want to go to an English Premiere Soccer game in Europe (Manchester United).

Dream vacation: Anywhere on the beach! I love the sun and the ocean.

Best advice I've ever received: "Play with the talent God has given you! Play your best and never give up!"

My favorite movie: Anything with Leonardo DiCaprio, Vin Diesel or Johnny Depp!

My favorite book is: The book written by the North Carolina head soccer coach.

If I could play another sport it would be: Basketball. It's so fun and fast and takes a lot of eye/hand coordination.

What is my favorite hobby or activity away from soccer: I love to swim and skimboard at the beach. I also love to dance.

My favorite musical group: Rascal Flats, Keith Urban, Ryan Cabrera.

People say I look like: When I was little my older sisters friends would tell me I looked like Molly Ringwald from "Breakfast Club." Then when I came to BYU a couple people told me I looked like a grown up Punky Brewster.

Favorite professor at BYU: Brother Bott for sure! Such a great teacher.

Most interesting class I've taken at BYU: Probably MFHD 222. It was cool to learn about kids and how to handle them, plus the teacher was cool!

What is my most memorable athletic achievement or moment: Going to the Elite Eight and winning at Villanova in the Sweet Sixteen! I'll never forget that!!

If I had to give up all of my possessions except one, what would be the one thing I kept: I'd keep my make-up bag!

My favorite Web site is: www.oldnavy.com (I love to shop)

My advice to youngsters: Remember who you are and what you stand for. Be yourself and donýýt give up your dreams.

If you could invite any three people to dinner who would they be: My grandma Marjorie (I've never met her), President Hinckley and my husband.

On the day of a game, how do your friends and relatives follow the game: Either they are at the game (almost all the time), or by television or live internet stats.

Most embarrassing moment as a player: We were handing out tickets up on campus for our game that night. If you brought the ticket to the gate then they were a $1 off the general price. After I made about $6, someone asked why I had money. Everyone got a good laugh and let Coach Jen know. She was laughing too, luckily!

Scariest thing about adjusting to college life: It was my first time living away from home. I hate eating at the Cannon Center! I hated being away from my family.

What have you worked on most this off-season:

Probably just staying in shape and also my shooting.

My first job: Family Fun Center. I worked at the front desk and sold tickets for miniature golf, go-carts, rollerskating and laser tag. I wasn't very good with the computer.

Nickname: Big Game James.

Feature on Jaime Rendich, Junior soccer player

Jaime Rendich came to BYU with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Three years removed from her decision to join the Cougar soccer team, Rendich leads the young team in scoring, is engaged to be married to a well-known BYU football player in December, and is scheduled to graduate in December 2005. Yet, this merely scratches the surface on the life of a young woman that has become polished and well-rounded as a result of her interactions with colleagues and coaches at BYU, while playing the sport she has always loved.

The women's soccer team completed its most successful season ever last year after reaching the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. Gone from that team are six graduating seniors, including All-American Aleisha Rose, and starting freshman Nicole Griffin (formerly Jensen) to an ACL injury; these players take with them the poise and experience earned through years of collegiate play,

Rendich is one of four returning starters including junior Charlene Lui, sophomore Claire Thomas and senior Krissa Reinbold (formerly Campbell). The team is full at 33 players, 20 of which are only freshman or sophomores.

A new leader was desperately needed to step in and provide a source of identity and direction for the players on this young Cougar team, and that role has been filled by Rendich. She is one of the keys to the offensive attack for the women's soccer team this year.

"Last year's team had a ton of experience and we were good because we'd been playing together for a long time," Rendich says. "This year's team has a lot more talent and energy, with girls that are working harder; the only thing we lack is experience."

Playing some top-ranked teams early in the season, the team has seen its ups and downs, possibly going through some growing pains, but Rendich believes the team is steadily improving and will be ready for the Mountain West Conference, which BYU hosts in November.

"Jaime really feels a great deal of responsibility for the direction of the team," says Penny Rendich, Jaime's mother. "She really takes them on her back, and wants in the best way to contribute to the success of the team."

Studying marriage family and human development with an emphasis in early childhood education, Rendich plans to graduate in December 2005.

Rendich grew up in Canyon Country, California, in a home where she was the youngest of seven daughters, and the first to play soccer. Watching her older sisters succeed at basketball, Rendich did likewise, following in their footsteps. Rendich first entertained the idea of soccer as a 6-year-old at Leona Cox Elementary School,.

"I was just playing one day at recess and I went home that day, and told my mom that I wanted to play soccer," Rendich says. "From that first time, I've just loved soccer."

Her parents and self-proclaimed biggest fans, Bob and Penny Rendich, might have been a little hesitant initially because of the physical nature of the game for a young girl.

"My dad didn't really want me to play at first because he had all girls and thought that it was a rough sport; he was concerned about me getting hurt. But once he started coming to some games and saw how much fun I was having, then he was fine with it."

Penny Rendich helped convince her husband Bob to let her go along with the desire to play, and the two have never looked back, attending all but two of Jaime's games during her entire career.

Growing up, Rendich never realistically considered BYU in her future plans for soccer.

"I didn't really think about BYU until I got into high school and started going to seminary," she adds. "I had a friend that wanted to come here and that's when I began to consider the idea. I wanted to go to North Carolina or UCLA ever since I was little; those were the two schools I really wanted to attend."

Dreams turned into reality for Rendich as she excelled through high school and club play, attracting the attention of many Division I coaches, including BYU's Jennifer Rockwood.

Head soccer coach Jennifer Rockwood is in her 10th year at BYU, and has amassed an impressive 158-46-6 career over nine years, placing her seventh in winning percentage (.767) among active NCAA coaches. Rockwood has established a well-respected program at BYU that relies on discipline and teamwork.

Rockwood first visited Rendich during her sophomore year in high school. Heavily recruited out of Canyon High School, Rendich was the team MVP her junior and senior year and led the team in scoring all four years on the way to the state championship tournament. Rockwood attended various tournaments and officially visited the Rendich home to offer Jaime a spot on the team. Rockwood instantly earned the respect and admiration of the Rendich family for the type of program she established at BYU.

"Jen is about the person and not just the soccer," Penny adds. "It's a great opportunity for the girls to play the sport they love and be tutored by a great coach that helps reinforce all of the great things they are doing in their lives."

Narrowing down possible options, Rendich included BYU in her recruiting trip that included the University of Utah, USC and Pepperdine. Despite the pros and cons of each school, Rendich had to consider the possibility of future injury before making her final decision.

"Just walking on campus everything clicked; I thought that I could definitely go here," she remembers. "But I had to think about if I somehow got hurt and couldn't play soccer anymore, that this is the school that I would want to attend."

Coach Rockwood also played a positive role in Rendich's decision to play at BYU.

"She's such a good person on and off the field. For the first time, I actually had a coach who cares about the players off the field," she explains.

With only male coaches up to and throughout high school and club play, Rendich welcomed the idea of her first female coach.

"Guy coaches are all about soccer and they're pretty hard core. Jen can be tough on the field but she cares about other things besides soccer. She never loses her cool and that's something I really admire about her."

Moving to Provo was not a problem for Rendich, except for getting accustomed to a colder climate. As a freshman, he climate was a drastic change for this west-coast girl that grew up on the beach. The way of life in Utah was much slower and more relaxed than the hustle and bustle of Southern California.

Most recently, Rendich got engaged to quarterback Jason Beck of the BYU football team. The two met when Beck visited the University on a recruiting trip in January. A seed was initially planted by Penny Rendich, Jaime's mom, who works as the Athletic Department Secretary at the College of the Canyons Junior College where Beck attended.

"I didn't even know who he was when he first walked into the office," Penny embarrassingly remembers. "Here you had a guy that was the quarterback and just led the school to the championship, and I asked him if he was an athlete at the school. He humbly and politely told me that he was the quarterback on the school's football team."

Impressed by his polite nature and friendliness, Penny thought it would be nice if Beck met Jaime. Once Beck signed a letter-of-intent to play football with BYU, Penny suggested they meet on his upcoming visit to Provo.

"Without looking too much into it at the time, I just thought he was a cute kid and wanted him to meet my daughter; he had a kind of sparkle to him," reflects Penny.

The two were first introduced at a party by Beck's friend and teammate Nick Longshore, also a long-time neighbor of the Rendich family in southern California.

Beck was immediately impressed with Rendich's willingness to meet new people.

"She is so outgoing and friendly," Beck explains. "I love how she is always so happy."

The two began dating in May and are scheduled to be married in the Los Angeles Temple in December.

Jaime Rendich, in a significant way, represents every athlete at BYU. She came to Provo to play a sport she loved, a sport she has excelled at her entire life. She also came to this University to be a part of something special, a group of student athletes who are traveling ambassadors for the Church. Yet, Rendich has received more than she ever imagined while attending BYU. She has not only further developed her soccer skills but also grown in all other facets of her life, becoming a more complete person.

"I think as a soccer person, the discipline and determination to be a part of a Division I program and her opportunities at BYU have made a whole person out of her," Penny Rendich concludes. "It has strengthened her whole testimony. She could have gone anywhere but she would not have become the person she has become elsewhere. She has given up everything over the years to be on the soccer field and yet she has gained everything."

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