Gateway soccer standout seizes opportunity with Cal (Pa.)

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Sunday, April 18, 2021 | 11:01 AM


In December, Gateway senior Jayson Jenkins set in stone his decision to kick in college for the Robert Morris football team.

Twin sister Joelle, a standout physical defender and four-year starter for the Gators girls soccer team, also hoped to find a place to call her own for the next four years.

That hope has turned into a reality as Joelle has signed a letter of intent with Division II Cal (Pa.).

“This is a great opportunity for me,” Jenkins said. “With the pandemic, everything had been so difficult with recruiting. I was emailing a lot of coaches. I came across Cal U and saw the beautiful campus. I was talking with Cal U, and it just went super fast. I knew that’s where I wanted to be.”

Jenkins earned all-section recognition in 2020 after helping lead Gateway through a midseason covid-related pause and into the playoffs.

The layoff created a stretch of seven games in 11 days to close the regular season. Gateway finished 5-7 in Section 1-3A play and earned the section’s fourth-place berth to the Class 3A playoffs.

Gateway’s season came to a close at 7-9 overall after a 6-0 loss to eventual WPIAL finalist Plum in the first round.

Jenkins battled through injury late in the regular season and into the playoffs but was able to take the field against the Mustangs.

She also doubled up this past fall as a third-year kicker on the Gateway football team, sharing time on special teams with brother Jayson.

The Cal U women’s soccer team was not able to play this past fall as the PSAC first suspended and then canceled the soccer season in response to the covid pandemic.

The Vulcans and the other conference members are hoping to return to action this fall. Cal U finished the 2019 season 4-12 -1.

Cal U’s 2020 roster had a strong local presence with 15 players from WPIAL schools.

“I feel all the hard work has paid off, from my work on and off the field to getting my name out there,” Joelle said.

The Jenkins siblings are following in their father’s footsteps.

Joe Jenkins enjoyed a three-sport career at East Allegheny and went on to play basketball at Division II Shippensburg and at Point Park.

Uncle John Jenkins was a defensive back and kick returner at Pitt before spending some time with the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 1998 season.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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