Athlete Spotlight: Imani Jenkins

Michael Enyaah, Staff Writer

Our first Hartford Hawks athlete spotlight for this year is Imani Jenkins. Junior Imani Jenkins continues to impress for Hartford and leads her team in nearly every category. She has scored 9 goals to go along with her four game-winners in just seven games. The Middletown, Connecticut native is no stranger to excellence. She was named to the “America East All-Rookie Team” in 2021 and has continued to develop her game since then.

In a recent interview, Jenkins disclosed more about her development, personal life, and time at Hartford. “I think that as a player, I have gained way more composure than I had freshman year. I knew the right things to do, the right touches to take, and where to place the ball when faced 1v1 with a keeper,” Jenkins said. She also added, “What was lacking was the ability to calm down and execute. I think now, gaining more experience with the pace and physicality of college soccer, I have adjusted and learned to just relax. “The expectations in college sports are undeniable, but Jenkins’ transition from club/high school to collegiate soccer was a segue. Her impact on the field was instant – scoring in her first career game for the Hawks against Delaware State. She would continue to improve as she would inspire her team to crucial victories over Lafayette, Merrimack, and UMBC. She also played a significant factor in a non-conference win over Siena, recording a hat-trick.

Off the field, Jenkins remains a driven student. She has several honor roll recognitions to go with other individual accolades. Jenkins also had this to say about being a student inside and outside the classroom. “In a way, I think soccer has taught me this skill, because sometimes you may have a game where you are a little off and making a lot of mistakes and it may feel overwhelming, but that is okay. You must look at the mistakes you made, whether that be watching films, or asking your coaches what you can work on, and learn from them to make you better. So, in the classroom, I have learned that even though you may not do well on an assignment or an exam, what really matters is learning from those mistakes and being able to bounce back. Rather than panicking or worrying, those should be fleeting. It is okay to feel down, but you must get prepared for the next exam or assignment and take the proper steps to be better”.

Finally, her favorite player is Lionel Messi. She emphasized her admiration for his versatility and technique while recalling his live performance. Jenkins’ excellence is without question. She hopes to improve her game progressively during her time at Hartford. Next up for the Hawks is a homecoming game for Jenkins in an away match against Wesleyan on September 17 at 3 pm.