Jennifer Rockwood, BYU women’s soccer head coach, gave a BYU devotional about finding purpose in life on Mar. 15, 2016. She has lead the Cougars to nine regular season conference championships and eight conference tournament championships.
Rockwood focused her message on the principle of finding light and being a light in a world of darkness.
“God has sent each of us here with a plan, a purpose and a specific life to live. He also sent us here with all the tools we need to find success, happiness and peace. But we must choose to surround ourselves with light,” Rockwood said.
She explained there are many different ways to surround life with light and guidance. One experience she told was about a high school soccer player that she coached. He took Rockwood’s soccer advice and applied it into his real life.
“He searched for deeper meaning in his experiences, and learned from some of life’s simple truths. This is one way you can search for the light,” Rockwood said.
She said the next way to find light in life is by being surrounded by people who lift and inspire.
“When you seek after the light by surrounding yourselves with positive and great individuals, you provide yourself with more opportunities to learn and grow,” Rockwood said.
Rockwood said when she recruits players, she seeks to find people who have light. She explained that recruiting is one of the hardest and most time-consuming parts of her job, but it is also the most rewarding.
“We must ask ourselves: are these individuals helping us to move more towards the light, or are they allowing us to let some darkness slip in? Are they motivating and inspiring us, or are they bringing us down? Do they help us see what is great about the world, or cast a shadow of negativity?” Rockwood said.
She told a story of a particular recruit who didn’t originally want to conform and embrace to the standards of the team. Rockwood said she was an amazing player but she was holding herself and the team back, and so they asked her to make some changes and come back the following semester.
Jenevieve Philips decided to listen to her coach and ended up coming back her senior year to help the Cougars beat the University of Portland, the defending National Champions.
“She went on to graduate from BYU, serve a mission and bless the lives of all those she came in contact with. She lived her life to the fullest, fulfilled her mission on this earth, and was taken home, after a car accident in 2012, to return to her Heavenly Father,” Rockwood said.
Rockwood said the BYU brand is important to her and her players. They do their best at representing the school by having good conduct on and off the field. She advised all students to do the same.
“I’m sure that we have all worked extremely hard and sacrificed much to be a part of this BYU community. I’m sure that we all are qualified and have had numerous opportunities to be elsewhere, but we have chosen to be here at Brigham Young University and stand for something more than ourselves,” Rockwood said.
Rockwood recounted a time when she was running a Ragnar race in the middle of the night and said she had a hard time seeing and felt completely alone. She tried to look for other runners’ headlights but she had to rely on her own light. When she finished the stretch she realized the people behind her were able to use her light.
She explained that this experience is very similar to life because everyone should strive to be a light to others in values and standards.
“Are you lighting the way for others? Are you an example of the Savior in your words, thoughts and actions? These are questions we must ask ourselves on a daily basis. In order for us to hold up our light, we must believe and remember who we are, where we came from and what we were sent here to do,” Rockwood said.