Lobo women’s soccer forward Jadyn Edwards is now entering her fifth and final year at the University of New Mexico, during which she hopes to carry on her exceptional performance from seasons prior and lead the team all the way to the Mountain West tournament as she looks ahead toward her professional prospects.

Edwards started playing soccer recreationally around the age of five, learning from family friends who coached her and eventually working her way up to more premier teams and solidifying her love for the sport. Though she played goalkeeper and center back positions early on, Edwards eventually settled in as a forward in middle school and found her stride there.

“I just like to score goals; I think that’s a fun part about soccer. And the athleticism of being up in that position, I think, suits me personally,” Edwards said.

And score goals she does: playing a total of 1,692 minutes on the pitch last year, Edwards racked up a team-leading 11 goals and nine assists and started in all 21 games of the season. This season is primed to be another great one for Edwards; in their recent game and first win of the season against California State University, Bakersfield, she made five shots and scored 3 goals. This upcoming year, she hopes to continue to lead the team in points as well as serve as a mentor to younger girls on the team.

“Being someone the younger players can look up to and lead by example and lead by voice in that way … My goal is to be a big goal scorer like I was last year and hopefully get a lot of assists as well and, for the team as a whole, to win the Mountain West conference and make it to the tournament and do well, both in the Mountain West tournament and in the NCAA tournament,” Edwards said.

She is looking forward to facing off against Grand Canyon University on Sept. 4 as well as their game at the tail end of the season against San Diego State University — the “team to beat,” according to Edwards.

“Probably to prepare (for the SDSU and GCU games), just mentally stay grounded and stay understanding of what we’re good at and what I’m good at and not trying to do anything crazy, just being us and me,” Edwards said.

Edwards scored the game-winning goal against San Diego State University during last year’s season. She said it was one of the greatest moments in her time playing soccer; it was a “once in a lifetime feeling” to be able to accomplish it in a home game, surrounded by fans during an especially difficult COVID-19 season.

Edwards was recruited by head coach Heather Dyche at a tournament in California and “fell in love” with the program after a visit to the school, setting in stone her prosperous career with the Lobos.

“I think that Jadyn has always been someone that has the ability to win games and is a really competitive player, and she’s definitely honed that as she’s gotten older here, but she’s always been someone that has kind of a special ability with the way that she plays, and that was obvious even way back then,” Dyche said.

Over the years, Dyche said that Edwards has truly cemented a historically significant place within the UNM women’s soccer legacy.

“Other than just being a great player, she’s a pretty exceptional person … She’s a very humble person who, for all her success, she doesn’t let it go to her head. She’s a hardworking player, and she’s also a great team captain. She does things for other people, she’s not someone who’s very self-centered, so the opportunity to work with Jadyn has been something that’s been really special,” Dyche said.

As her final season with the Lobos comes to a close, Edwards plans to enter the National Women’s Soccer League draft. Whether she plays in the States or overseas, playing soccer for as long as she possibly can remains chief for Edwards. Beyond that, she is also looking towards going back to school for her master’s degree in biology or a physician assistant program.

“I think Jadyn has the ability to go as far as she wants to go, truthfully. She has the pieces to have a great pro career. I think playing in the National Women’s Soccer League in our country is really difficult to do … I don’t know if Jadyn’s path will be direct to the NWSL or if she’s gonna play overseas for a couple years, but she’s definitely gonna have multiple options available to her,” Dyche said.

Still, Dyche’s only hope for Edwards this season is for her to enjoy herself and continue to play the sport with characteristic passion. With the season primed for success, and her team-turned-family by her side, she is certain to achieve just that.

“I feel like our team is unlike many other teams in the country; we are all very close and we’re all best friends, and we all just like to have fun and have fun playing soccer … The way we get along and the friendships I’ve made being on this soccer team specifically have been unreal, and I’m very grateful to have been a part of this team and made those friendships,” Edwards said.

Zara Roy is the copy chief at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at copychief@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @zarazzledazzle