They grew up in different parts of the world. One down the street from BYU’s South Field and one in the shadows of California palm trees. Little girls who loved soccer and dreamed of one day playing for BYU. Transfer students Jocelyn Loomis and Rachel Boaz know that playing for the BYU women’s soccer team is not a fluke, but was planned by God.
Loomis and Boaz have both found a comfortable home with the BYU women’s soccer team after transferring from different universities.
Loomis, a Provo native, always dreamed of coming to BYU and playing for the coaches she grew up watching and idolizing, but the University of Denver had other plans for her. They wanted her bad and didn’t stop chasing until she agreed to play for them in 2014. Loomis started all 20 games of the 2014 season at the University of Denver and played a total of 1,432 minutes. But she never felt at home in Denver, despite tallying 11 points and connecting on two game–winning goals.
“My experience was really different than what I thought it would be,” Loomis said. “Then we ended up playing BYU in a preseason game and I saw all these girls that I had played with forever, and I saw the coaches I had grown up wanting to play for and in my mind I was just like, ‘that’s where I need to be.'”
So Loomis called the BYU coaching staff and asked if they would take a look at her and consider letting her play with the Cougars. The coaching staff all agreed that BYU would happily take Loomis on as a Cougar midfielder.
Boaz recently transferred from San Diego State to BYU after returning from an LDS mission in Everett, Washington. She started all 20 games of the 2011 season as goalkeeper for the Aztecs before her mission. She was crucial to the Aztec defense and had 49 saves and seven shutouts. Choosing a college to attend was not a decision Boaz took lightly. As a girl she had always planned to attend BYU, but many schools pursued her during high school and San Diego State was one of the top recruiters.
“I took every school into consideration,” Boaz said. “And then I just prayed and fasted about it and it just was not right to come to BYU at that time. That was a strong feeling I had. But now is the right time for me to be here. It all just fits. It is really perfect and guided by the Lord.”
Both players said they feel completely at home in BYU white and blue, even though the path to becoming a Cougar was very different for each of them. Many adjustments had to be made both on and off the field. The hardest adjustment for Loomis came not from being around new people, but from changing status on the team.
“I am super happy where I’m at but not content,” Loomis said. “I want to be starting. I want to be playing at my highest level, and I am no where near that.”
Boaz grew up in California and has loved adjusting to the LDS-filled atmosphere that surrounds Provo. She has enjoyed the opportunities she’s had as a BYU soccer player to participate in devotionals and share her testimony on the road. That is something different than what she experienced at San Diego state but it has been a quick and easy adjustment.
Boaz and Loomis have already proven themselves on the field playing a total of 536 and 182 minutes respectively this season. Boaz has started all six games and racked up 30 saves as goal keeper for the Cougars thus far, while Loomis has also seen the field in all six games for the Cougars and helped move the ball in the midfield position. Both players feel a duty to continue to give all they have to this BYU team.
“I hope to continue to do my part,” Boaz said. “I just hope to really improve each game and to connect better.”
Boaz and Loomis have jumped on the BYU bandwagon and feel that this is where they are meant to be. Coach Jennifer Rockwood said having them on the team does not change the team’s tactics or feelings in any way. The motto is still the same.
“We just want to continue to build each game,” Rockwood said. ” Not changing anything in particular, but just trying to get better at what we do.”