WILMINGTON — After just one season of playing soccer at the junior college level, Jayana Nicholson is on the move.
The former four-year starter and 2019 Richmond Senior High School graduate wrapped up her first academic year at Cape Fear Community College this spring. But now she’ll be shifting to Raleigh and joining the Shaw University women’s soccer program.
Earlier this month, Nicholson signed her Letter of Intent to transfer to Shaw for the upcoming fall semester. She will be joining the Bears on a full academic and athletic scholarship.
“It feels great to receive both an athletic and an academic scholarship,” Nicholson said. “It just shows that I can do anything when I put my mind to it.”
Helping her move through the ranks so quickly was her success on the field and in the classroom at Richmond. After accumulating over 30 college credits through the Richmond and Richmond Community College dual enrollment program, Nicholson was able to complete her associate’s degree after just one year at Cape Fear.
“My plan was to graduate with my associate’s degree and transfer to another school, or just stay at Cape Fear for another year and play,” Nicholson explained. “But Shaw ended up reaching out to me after watching me play against Wake Tech (Community College).”
During her freshman season with the Sea Devils, Nicholson was tied for fourth on the team in goals scored, notching eight tallies in 17 games (eight of which were starts). She also finished the season with 20 total points, fifth best on the team, adding four assists and one game-winning goal.
Cape Fear, which was a nationally-ranked Division I junior college program in 2019, went 13-2-2, including a 6-1-1 record in Region 10 play for a second-place finish. The Sea Devils scored 104 total goals, surrendered just eight goals against and had 11 shutout victories.
One of Nicholson’s best performances came against Southwest Virginia on Aug. 31, when she recorded a hat trick in a 13-0 win. Her other multi-goal game came against USC Lancaster two weeks later when she added two goals in another victory.
Nicholson will be joining a Shaw program, which is Division II, that went 7-9 in 2019 under head coach Randy McClure. Other Richmond athletes to play at Shaw include 2015 graduate Devon Hunt and 2020 graduate Joerail White, both of whom play football.
“When I was at Cape Fear, they put me in a whole new position,” Nicholson said. “I was used to playing defensive midfielder, but they played me at forward and left wing.
“What I learned there is that no matter what position they put me in, they put me there for a reason,” she added. “I knew I had to show out. Playing at Cape Fear helped me prepare for the next level by changing my mindset to more of an attacker, which is what most schools were looking for in me.”
Nicholson will hopefully report to Shaw this summer depending on the coronavirus outbreak. She closed by saying she’s “very excited to take the step up in competition” and looks forward to “making a difference” with the Bears.