Women’s soccer standout finds success after earlier setbacks: ‘It’s led me to where I am now’
Powerful soccer midfielder Jaida Nyby ’23 has played a pivotal role in the turnaround University of the Pacific’s women’s soccer program has experienced.
The senior has led the team to 23 wins over the last three seasons, including six this season. The team had just six wins in the previous three seasons.
“I am not sure we are where we are today without her leadership, competitiveness and desire to be great,” said co-head coach J.J. Wozniak.
Off the field she is a leader on the Pacific Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and recently represented student-athletes on the search committee for Athletic Director Adam Tschuor. But her collegiate success almost didn’t happen.
Nyby started playing for Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, an NCAA Division II school. In 2020 she learned the university was closing its doors.
“We hit the transfer portal pretty quickly,” Nyby said. “Everyone had to find a new home, which was crazy.”
It was a connection with Pacific’s then head coach Ed Moore, whom she had met when he was an assistant at Boise State, that led her to the Tigers. She visited campus and decided to continue her career in Stockton.
She was then hit with another hurdle—COVID-19. The 2020 season was moved to spring 2021. Although it was her first year with the Tigers, she moved into the starting lineup and was named captain. She started the 12 games in the abbreviated season, scoring seven goals.
Her favorite moment was leading the Tigers to their first West Coast Conference win since 2017, defeating Loyola Marymount. Her performance earned her a spot on All-WCC Second Team.
The following season in fall 2021, Nyby started all 19 matches for the Tigers and scored three goals with four assists. The team, which won just one match the previous year, picked up 10 wins. Still, she felt like she “hit a bit of a plateau.”
“I think I was expecting too much for myself coming off my sophomore year,” she said. “I came in the next year and expected to do something even better. I think that ended up hurting me.”
It was a turning point for Nyby, who realized the team was not going to succeed if she thought she had to do everything herself.
She rebounded as a senior in 2022, starting in 20 games and scoring four goals. At the end of the season, she was an honorable mention selection to the All-WCC Team.
Danesha Adams, who was named co-head coach with Wozniak following the 2021 season, describes her as a competitor and someone who raised the level of the program.
“Having your school shut down is never easy and trying to find a new place to play soccer is even harder,” Adams said. “Once she landed at Pacific, she had a chip on her shoulder to prove she could play at the Division I level.”
She currently leads the team in scoring with seven goals, which ranks third in the West Coast Conference. She has two game-winning goals, helping Pacific to an unbeaten record at home (4-0-1) for the third straight season.
The fifth-year senior is in her final semester at Pacific. She is completing her bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science. After graduation, Nyby plans to pursue soccer professionally and enroll in nursing school.
Nyby says she wouldn’t change anything about her path to Pacific.
“Bad days come and go, but if you look at it with a different mindset, there’s something to be grateful for every day,” she said. “Looking back at every trial I’ve had over my four years here, it’s all led me to where I am now.”
The team opened WCC play this weekend and has three more home games, including a Saturday, October 14 matchup with Santa Clara during Homecoming and Family Weekend. See the team’s full schedule.