While some athletes have an easy road to success, Jaida Nyby had to navigate a winding road to find herself at Pacific University and that’s helped her become the person and player she is today. Thankfully, she always had an assist from a very special person in her life.
“My dad has been my hero since I was little,” Jaida told BGN. He took an opportunity most young 20-year-old wouldn’t and chose to raise me and my sister as a single dad. We’ve always been super close and super similar. He was a collegiate athlete as well, and since I was little raised me with tough love and a competitive spirit.”
“He was the type of dad to run my fitness tests with me in middle school for ODP, he was out at the field every weekend helping me get better, he even coached my youth Kidsports team ‘The Silver Fairies’ in kindergarten and never lets me forget where it all started,” she said with a laugh.
“He’s been my biggest fan and supporter from the very start, working so hard to give me and my sister every opportunity for us to pursue our dreams. I get a lot of the qualities I’m proud to have from watching the way he leads our family and how he’s raised me. I think what makes our relationship so special is the way he empowered me as a young girl from such a young age to believe that I could achieve anything I set my mind to. He used to tell me all the time, if anybody doubts you, prove them wrong. This has helped me out countless times not just on the field, but in being able to grow into a confident, young, and independent woman.”
The Eugene, Oregon native used those lessons she learned from her dad as she navigated a unique high school journey. She played her first two seasons at Sheldon High School, winning two conference titles before she missed her junior season due to injury. Nyby would play her senior season at Thurston High School and was the star of the show. Her accolades from that season included Midwestern League Player of the Year, First Team Oregon 5A All-State, Register Guard Prep Girls Soccer Player of the Year, and Oregon State 5A Player of the Year.
“My senior season at Thurston was a very humbling year for me,” Nyby said. “I was new at the school and had to learn very quickly how to not just be a part of, but a leader on a new team. The season could have either gone one of two ways: really poorly or really well. My dad challenged me to set goals for myself to help me get through the season with something to strive for. Having something as a reminder to push me everyday helped me develop as a player, leader and earn a very honorable and humbling award of 5A state player of the year.”
“I couldn’t have done it without the support of the team, the school, and my family. That year we turned the season around from a losing season just the year before, to making it to the second round of state playoffs. It had been a long time since that program had made the playoffs at all. I was able to leave the end of the season feeling proud of the accomplishments I had made and like I grew as a person and leader.”
After that special senior season at Thurston, Nyby took her talents to Concordia University. “I had a very different and difficult recruiting process in high school,” she explained. “I committed to the University of Idaho my sophomore year, and after learning the coaching staff was leaving the program and it was facing potential financial cuts, I decided to de-commit and re-start the process that felt like it would never end.”
“I chose Concordia because it was close to home, I loved Portland and had grown up in Oregon my whole life. I wanted to be close to my family, but far enough away to find my own independence. I grew up playing with a few girls who were already on the team and joined the pre-nursing program. It seemed like a good fit for me.”
She received Second Team All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference honors for the Cavaliers.
Then, circumstances caused her NCAA journey to go from Concordia to Pacific University. “Again, my college soccer process has not been an easy one,” Nyby said. “In February of 2020, Concordia’s board of administration announced that the university would be “ceasing operations indefinitely”, meaning the school had gone bankrupt. This started the recruiting process all over again for me.”
Help us welcome the newest out-of-staters to Pacific!
🐯 Jaida Nyby
🐯 Taylor Puckett
🐯 Laila Saravia
— Pacific Women's Soccer (@PacificWSoccer) May 6, 2020
“I chose Pacific because I wanted a new challenge for myself. It had been my dream since I was little to play at the highest level, especially in a conference like the WCC. The environment when I came to campus and every one I met made Pacific feel like home, even though it was in a different state and further away from Eugene, Oregon. I could really see Ed’s vision as a new head coach,
and I knew wanted to be a part of it. Some of my favorite parts about Pacific is that there’s a lot more sunshine here than back home. I love the team and the people and our campus is so pretty.”
In her first season at Pacific, Jaida has started all nine matches and scored a goal in her debut vs. California Baptist. “I would say my style of play is definitely having the ball at my feet going forward,” she said. “I like to play out of pressure and look to combine with our forwards up top. I also focus on my effort and mentality when I’m defending in the middle. If I can press hard and fast, we can win the ball higher up the field and I’ll have that momentum to keep driving forward.”
Unfortunately for Nyby and her teammates, Pacific is winless this season with seven losses and two draws. “Looking at our record, this season hasn’t gone according to plan, however, I don’t believe the results on paper illustrate our progress as a team and program at all,” Jaida said. “As a young and newer group, with an entirely new coaching staff, we’re just getting started. It’s a work in progress but we are seeing so much improvement every week in training.”
She’s confident that they can get things turned around with a few matches left. “With all of the hard work everybody on the field, coaching staff, and training staff, has been putting in, we are in-route to getting our first WCC win since the 2017 season,” Nyby said. “Once we get our first result, the momentum will carry. I’m so excited to see what this program can do in the next few years. We have a super young and talented team and I can only imagine how successful we will be after more time and experience together.”
Nyby and Pacific will host LMU tomorrow as they look for that first win on the season. Kick off is set for 1 PM and the match can be streamed live here.
Jaida is a great representative to the Pacific Northwest and is definitely proud of where she’s from. “My three favorite things about growing up in the area is definitely the fall season, when the leaves are changing colors and before the rain really starts to hit in the winter season,” she said. “The ocean and Oregon coast is not far from home (2-hour drive). There are so many incredible mountains to hike, ski, and explore. Eugene is where I’m from and is a smaller college town home of the University of Oregon, and just 2- hours south of Portland. The pacific northwest, and Oregon especially, really has it all. You’re never bored and there’s always something to go do outside.”
Being outside is her favorite thing to do when she’s not on the soccer pitch. “I think this has a lot to do with where I grew up and the things we did to pass our time when we had nothing else to do,” she said. “I love being with my friends and family, getting to explore new places. We hike a lot back home, and pretty much anything to stay active is something I’d spend my time doing outside of being a student-athlete.”