Around the country, Prince George’s County is known for producing elite athletes including Kevin Durant, the late Len Bias, and countless others. Hailing from Beltsville, Maryland, NC State’s Jameese Joseph looks like she could one of the next rising stars from PG County.
“I just feel like over there, the high schools, they develop players to be strong and compete,” Joseph told BGN. “And the competitiveness in that area is really high. So I feel like players always just want to be the best.” She adds that the players back home practice hard, potentially over practice, and that hard work helps.
Joseph’s hard work paid off in her first NCAA season back in 2019. She started all 23 matches on a run to the NCAA Tournament third round and registered three goals and three assists, earning ACC All-Freshman and United Soccer Coaches All-Region Third Team honors. Discussing her early success, Jameese said, “I wasn’t surprised, but I was surprised. So I guess both, I mean, I worked really hard, so I didn’t really like know any of the accolades and stuff coming into it. So I was just playing to play as a team and stuff and trying to do my best every single game.”
During her freshman season, she was able to play alongside star forward Tziarra King, the first-ever NC State player drafted into the NWSL and an immediate fan favorite. “Tziarra, she’s phenomenal,” Joseph said about the OL Reign forward. “She’s just a fun person to be around. She’s like my big sister, she literally helped me on the field. She would tell me if I’m doing something wrong or correct me and off the field, she’s just fun, always dancing in the locker room, always just a fun time. And we still keep in touch now.”
After COVID-19 took soccer away from the Wolf Pack in 2020, the team kicked off their 2021 campaign with a 2-0 win over Old Dominion over the weekend. When asked if she felt extra confidence entering the match following her freshman success, Jameese said, “I guess I was kind of nervous, honestly, playing our first game because we were off for so long. I hadn’t played a match since 2019, so I was just trying to like, get my groove back because it’s a new team and stuff. So, I just wanted to feel it out and see how I was doing.”
She definitely got off on the right foot as she scored the team’s first goal of 2021. “For the team, I would like us to make it as far as possible,” she said when it comes to goals for this season. “And we started off strong with the two goals we got (with) Denae (Antoine) scoring with the assist by Leyah (Hall-Robinson). And I just want us to continue to grow because we missed the season basically. So I just feel like we have so much potential because other teams didn’t see us in the fall. I just want to prove us as a program.”
— PackWSoccer⚽️ (@PackWSoccer) February 8, 2021
As we move through the second week of Black History Month, Joseph feels an added responsibility to showcase her skills. “Black History Month basically means to basically prove myself,” she explained. “It’s kind of hard being an African-American girl in the game, playing and stuff because opportunities are definitely passed by (for) African-American girls and women. So I feel like just proving myself or proving like that we’re good and technical and not just fast and all that stuff. I would like to be seen as not just a fast player, but also a technical player.”
Building on that, she discussed what it’s like to see more Black star players on the USWNT like Crystal Dunn, Midge Purce, and Lynn Williams. “It definitely inspires like me to feel like, ‘Oh, I definitely have a chance to make it’,” Joseph said.
She added that seeing fellow promising players like Brianna Pinto getting called up is really good and eye-opening for her.
Tonight, Jameese will get the next chance to prove herself as NC State kicks off match #2 vs. UNCW at 6 PM ET (Watch live here). Reflecting on how to improve on their season-opening victory, she said, “As a team, I feel like we need to work on more combining in the final third, I feel like our top three players are strong and I feel like if we combine more together and study each other up, I feel like everyone will just flow and score a lot of goals because we were talented as a front three.”