At times, skilled athletes are lauded for their sports acumen without consideration for their overall disposition, sense of self and purpose. Summerville born and raised center back, Jessica Osborne does not exemplify these times. With grace and humility, she finds purpose in her ability to compete on national and international soccer fields.
From an early age, Jessica, her older brother, Thomas—Limestone College’s goalkeeper, and their English parents, Andrew, and Gail, shared an avid love of the sport. A closely knitted family, they watched a tremendous amount of English football and American soccer. Gail is Pinewood Preparatory School’s Head Soccer Coach. For the Osborne family, the apple does not fall far from the tree.
In 2022, Jessica was chosen the Post and Courier’s Female and Regional Soccer Player of the Year. Also, she was the United Soccer Coaches Academic All-America and signed to play for Auburn University. Using the “broken-leg litmus test”, she asked herself, “If I have a broken leg and could no longer play soccer, would I want to be at Auburn?” Her answer was unequivocally, “YES!” She loves the campus, academic rigor, spirit of her teammates and coaches’ desire for players who display sportsmanship when they perform. Not to mention, Auburn is an SEC powerhouse. If she broke her leg, she is unwavering in her decision, “Auburn would still feel like home.”
Jessica, who holds both United States and United Kingdom citizenship, played for Pinewood and ECNL’s Florida Elite team coached by Sean Bubb. Recognizing Jessica’s talent, Bubb, an English national, contacted his colleagues overseas. That season, to the surprise of the Osborne family, England’s Football Association’s coaching staff bypassed the U17 youth development training/evaluation camp, and instead invited Jessica to play in England’s U17 fixture camp competing against international teams.
Swimming in literally a world of opportunity, Jessica represented the English National Team in February of last year against Norway. The first game she played for 20 minutes and played the entire second game. The following month, she traveled to Krakow, Poland to play in the U17 European Qualifier against France, Poland, and Croatia. She showed on the field in the game against France; started and played the duration against Poland and Croatia. The following season, she moved from the U17 developmental program to England Women’s Soccer U18 professional development international fixture camp training at the premier St George’s Park.
A year later, in 2023, she was called to play in another fixture tournament against the Republic of Ireland. Once again, Jessica started and completed the game. She is on the standby squad for the U19 European Championships. For now, her position for the summer is cemented. She has been selected to play for her family’s favorite team, England’s U19 National Women’s Soccer team, the Three Lions.
Jessica’s disposition is as equally impressive as her resume. Her unassuming love for the game is delightfully charming and mature.
“I dreamed of playing at a higher level, but it happened fast. I know I will always be vying for my position. Whether it is another player’s ability or a coach’s style of play, I will be competing to earn my place on the field. I learned very quickly how to adapt to the physical and mental speed of the game. We watched hours of films off the field. It was intense and insane! We were there to compete, learn the different tactics used by each team and anticipate their maneuvers. There is no single style of play that changes depending on the country. I am thankful for my coaches and my family’s support, encouraging me to be a better player, teammate, and person. One who listens, takes direction, works hard and advocates for others as well as myself.”
With realistic life goals, she is unpretentious and practical about her decision to attend Auburn University next year.
“My passion for the game is a priority but so is my education. I know that playing professionally is limited; I had to think about how I could stay involved and contribute once I can no longer compete. I plan to major in journalism. I hope my playing experience will help me reach other girls interested in playing sports and advocating for women athletes. Playing soccer has helped me be a leader—in a good supportive way.”
Jessica is a superior soccer player, academically honored, well rounded 18-year-old who listens to music, reads, plays tennis, and hangs out with her friends. Her ability to hear others’ concerns and recognize their strengths makes her a valued teammate on and off the field. Referring to her drive and character, Coach Bubb, reiterates,
“Jessica has made extraordinary sacrifices to reach her goals and traveled extensively from South Carolina to play and compete for Florida Elite and now throughout Europe. She is incredibly liked by her peers and teammates and very supportive of them. She is extremely humble, very coachable and an absolute pleasure to be around.”
There is little doubt Jessica will continue to make her mark athletically and beyond. AM