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Extra Exclusive Interview: Jayda Coleman On Making the USA Softball Jr. National Team

Jayda Coleman hustling towards first during the Jr. National Team Tryout. She reached base in 8-of-12 at-bats. Photos in this article provided by USA Softball/photos taken by Jade Hewitt.

Jayda Coleman was one of only two members of the Class of 2020 who made the USA Softball Women’s Junior National Team--the other was Bailey Dowling from St. Joseph’s, Illinois--and the junior from The Colony, Texas admits she didn’t get off to a rousing start at the Selection Tryout which took place this past weekend in Clearwater, Florida.

An accomplished infielder who’s already been named as the #1 player in the 2020 Extra Elite 100 and a 1st Team Extra Inning Softball All-American, Jayda says “I was struggling to just field a routine ground ball.”

The Oklahoma commit, however, soon found her groove and showed why she’s considered one of the top players in the nation at any age.

We caught up with Jayda and asked her about her experience including how she reacted when she found out she made the team… here’s her responses!

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How did you find out you made the team? 
My select coach, Kevin Shelton (head of the Texas Glory organization) was the first to give me the great news.

Did you do anything Wednesday after learning the good news to celebrate?
Yes, some of my hometown friends took me out to eat at IHOP.

Jayda's official Team USA photo.

You said earlier that you would “probably cry my eyes out” if you made the team, what was your reaction when you learned you made it? 
Yes, when I found out I made the team, I cried. My parents also had a couple of happy tears for me too. There were so many emotions coming to me at once that all I could do was cry. I was speechless! All I could yell around the house was “USA... USA!” 

Now that it’s over and you made the Junior National Team, do you feel it was a fun experience?
Yes, I had a great time. Being surround by great players was a great feeling and getting to know them on a personal level is something I will cherish the rest of my life.

Were you nervous when the first day kicked off?
It was a little nerve-racking at first, but when I was able to get out of my head and relax, I started to have a good time and play better.

When you say, “play better,” do you mean you weren’t happy how you did the first day?
At the beginning it was rough. During the skill evaluation I was struggling to just field a routine ground ball. I felt as if I had so much to prove for myself and I wanted it so bad I couldn’t even play my own game. I finally realized that I just needed to relax and not overplay it.

What helped you relax when you were nervous at first? Do you have any relaxation techniques--like singing a song to yourself or pumping yourself with positive talk--that helped you get comfortable on the field?
My parents actually talked to me after the skills evaluations, assuring me that everything would be okay and that they were already proud of me. That’s really what I needed at the time, because I really just didn’t want to let them down.

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