Jan. 5 – CHEYENNE – Nate Ulness should rack his brains to think of a time in the past 16 months that he met Jayla Wulff on the Laramie County Community College campus, and she didn’t have a soccer ball with her .
“She’s a football junkie,” said the second-year LCCC women’s football coach. “She was always one of the first kids to train and always one of the last to leave. Sometimes it was because she had forgotten something on the pitch, but most of the time it was was because she was working on something after training.
“She was always in our racquetball room, in the (multi-purpose room) or in the weight room working on something. She almost always had a soccer ball in her arms or at her feet.”
This dedication helped Wulff stand out during his two seasons with the Golden Eagles and sign a Letter of Intent to continue his career at NCAA Division II Oklahoma Christian University.
“His first touch was one of the best on the team,” said Ulness. “She’s very confident with the ball and dribbles very confident. Sometimes she’s overconfident, but she always wants the ball on her feet and always wants to shake things up.
“She sees the pitch really well and sometimes throws passes through holes I couldn’t see from the touchline. I attribute that to her hard work away from the team and her extra work alone and with our assistant coaches. “
The Laramie High graduate has started six of the 14 games she played in her first season at the LCCC. She scored three goals and contributed another to help the LCCC reach the NJCAA tournament in June.
In her sophomore year, the midfielder started 13 of the 18 games she played. She scored two goals and provided an assist during the fall season.
“I love the game,” Wulff said. “The LCCC has a ton of facilities that you can use to work on your game every day. It’s great to have these resources, so I tried to take advantage of them.”
Wulff’s passion for the game is contagious, Ulness said.
“I don’t know if I’ve seen her ever having a bad mood or having a bad day,” said the coach. “You need someone like that on your team because that positive energy permeates the whole team. We will miss him.
“She’s taught some of her freshman teammates to have a similar love and passion. She’s left a positive legacy on the program.”
Wulff could have returned for a third season as the National Junior College Athletic Association granted all athletes affected by the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020-21 season an additional season of eligibility. The elementary education major leaned this way, but visited the OCU campus with Ulness exhortation.
“I started watching the program and found out they had a new coach and saw an interview with him that really interested me (OCU),” said Wulff, who wants to pursue a minor in Spanish. “I could tell through the interview what kind of coach he is and what style he likes to play. From a football point of view, I think he’s a good choice.
“After a few conversations on Zoom and my official visit, it kind of fell into place. I also like that this is a Christian school.”
Jeremiah Johnke is the editor of WyoSports. He can be reached at [email protected] or 307-633-3137. Follow him on Twitter at @jjohnke.