Freshman Nyeemah Prescod-Beckles made a brief cameo for her NCAA debut in the spring for Jacksonville State, playing ten minutes against Southeast Missouri. Fast forward less than a year and Nyeemah has become one of the stars for the Gamecocks.
Nyeemah is second on the team with four goals and also notched an assist. “I am very happy with myself to be scoring goals at the Division 1 level,” Prescod-Beckles told BGN. “It’s (a) really rewarding feeling to be working hard in practice and seeing the results in games.”
When asked what she worked on between the spring and fall seasons, she said, “When I was home for the summer, I focused mostly on my ball control and finishing, which is very important as a forward.”
With those impressive stats and continued development as a player, you might imagine that Nyeemah is penciled in as a starter in every match for Jacksonville State this season. But, she only started in one of her first ten appearances in 2021. “Although I would love to be a starting player, I think that being able to come off the bench as a substitute, and still making an impact on the game and scoring goals, says a lot about my game and myself as a player,” she explained last month. “So I think that a “super sub” is a great way to describe it! I will definitely work my way to be in the starting 11 though.”
Since then, she’s done exactly that as Prescod-Beckles has started six of the last seven matches for Jacksonville State (scoring the below goal in a start vs. Stetson earlier this month). With just one regular season match to go on Friday vs. North Alabama (7 PM CT kickoff, live on ESPN+), Nyeemah and her teammates will look to pick up win #7 on the season and some momentum heading into the ASUN Conference Tournament. “I think my team brings a lot of passion and creativity to the field.” Prescod Beckles explained. “The key to making the team successful this season is staying focused and intense for the full 90 minutes.”
.@JSUGamecocksSOC pushes its advantage to 3-0 on the free kick goal. Kylie Wells feeds Nyeemah Beckles for the header into the far post.#StayCocky | @kylie_wells10 | @Nyeemah19 pic.twitter.com/MU3YClYEx3
— ASUN Soccer ⚽ (@ASUNSoccer) October 3, 2021
“It’s easy to feel relaxed and cocky when you’re up a goal or two, but it’s important to stay switched on and keep the pressure on for every second of the game, because any minute things can change.”
A native of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, Prescod-Beckles knows something about change as she ended up in Alabama for her college years. She said, “It’s funny because when I was in the recruiting process, I told myself that I would never go to the south! But here I am. I don’t travel much and I have never been to the South before so part of my decision to come here was purely out of curiosity.”
“I was interested to see the differences in how people do things in the South compared to Canadians.”
What have been the biggest differences or culture shocks that she’s noticed between Canada and Alabama? Nyeemah answered, “The biggest culture shocks for me were the accents, food and weather!”
The weather is a central theme of what Prescod-Beckles misses most about her home country. “The one thing I miss about Canada is the drastic seasonal changes. It looks so pretty in the winter and there’s so many fun things to do,” she said.
On the flip side, Nyeemah explained, “What I love about the states is the intensity they bring. Whether it’s high school sports or college sports, there’s always a big turnout and so much energy brought to the games, it’s really exciting to be apart of.”
Also, as a proud Canadian, Nyeemah has made sure to keep Drake’s latest album, Certified Lover Boy, in rotation this season. “YES I love Drake! It’s hard not to like Drake’s music,” she said. “I think that his new album is good, my favourite songs are “Race My Mind“, “Way 2 Sexy“, “Pipe Down” and “Champagne Poetry“. I literally play those everyday before practice.”
No matter what songs are on the playlist going forward, it’s clear that Nyeemah Prescod-Beckles will be a difference-maker for the next few years at Jacksonville State.