Iowa Alumni Magazine | August 2007 | People

Kick it Like Kaeding: Jackie Kaeding

By Shelbi Thomas
Kaeding A sophomore on the UI soccer team, Jackie shows that her brother Nate isn't the only Kaeding with a killer kick.

Long before Nate Kaeding was a Hawkeye all-American and a San Diego Chargers kicker, he was somebody's hero.

Younger sister Jackie idolized him. She tagged along to his practices and games. She watched Nate and older brother Nick leap over lawn chairs in backyard races, bounce tennis balls off the garage, and hit home runs. Sometimes, they would even let her play. "[My brothers] would gang up on me so much when I was younger," says Jackie. "They'd tackle me and throw me on the the ground, but I wouldn't have it any other way, because it made me a stronger athlete."

Like Nate, Jackie played basketball and soccer for Iowa City West. Then she followed Nick, 02BBA, and Nate, 04BA, to Iowa. Now, as a sophomore midfielder on the UI soccer team, she still carries with her all the lessons learned in the Kaedings' backyard.

After appearing in seven matches with two starts as a UI freshman, Jackie sustained an ACL injury that left her red shirted last year. This fall, she hopes to continue her success as a high school athlete, when she led the Trojans to the 2004 state and conference championships.

Throughout Jackie's soccer career, her golden foot has sparked comments like, "It must run in the family." Indeed, Jackie's grandfather played minor-league baseball and coached high school basketball, while her dad shot high school hoops. Then there's Nate, whose example reminds her to stay focused, grounded, and humble.

While Jackie's proud of her brother, she's ready to step out of his shadow. "It's opened doors for me, but I want to make a name for myself," says the journalism major and all-academic Big Team member, who dreams of becoming a news anchor or sports reporter.

This summer, she coached soccer for the Training with Nate Kaeding and Robert Gallery Youth Camp, a three-day summer camp in Iowa City where kids learn sports skills from the Hawkeye heroes. "Sports are so related to life," says the youngest Kaeding. "It's all about teamwork, motivation, having a passion."