Janae Aiken Comes Out of Crash Driven
By Cody Parker, Sports Editor
Sometimes life takes a turn, and for Janae Aiken hers has taken a couple.
The latest one happened during spring break of her sophomore year. She had traveled to Maryland for spring break and was driving around with some of her co-workers.
They took a left turn, and a Ford F-150 slammed into the side of her car.
“I actually don’t remember the aftermath or what happened during….I was in the hospital unconscious for four or five hours; I wasn’t waking up,” Aiken said.
She said when she woke up she thought: “I could be dead right now,” and that scared her and took its toll on her emotionally.
Aiken redshirted that season because she didn’t have enough credit hours during that semester.
She said that she failed a couple classes that she was making A’s in prior to the crash.
She said it wasn’t because she didn’t understand the material, but emotionally it was as if she just gave up.
But losing those hours and having to redshirt really woke her up.
“I don’t want to say it was a good thing, but it really did wake me up to get stuff done,” she said.
So far this season, the women’s soccer team is 2-0-1 with her guarding the net.
She has allowed just one goal in those three games.
Aiken credits her athleticism as being her best attribute as a goalkeeper. But why does she play goalkeeper? That is another of life’s turns.
She started off playing right back, which is a defensive position, in middle school but when their goalie got injured, the coach put her in as goalkeeper.
The team they were playing was really good.
“I got scored on, I’m not kidding, like 18 times,” Aiken said. “I said I was quitting soccer; I was crying while they scored on me.”
This was in the summer of her 6th and 7th grade years. When school came back around, she had moved to South Carolina.
She tried out for the soccer team and made it on as a goalkeeper, and actually made it on the roster of a club team in the area as a goalie as well.
“It’s been history ever since. I’ve liked it ever since,” she said.
Photo courtesy of UNCP Sports Information. Janae Aiken dives to grab the ball against Queens in the season opener.