Meet Olympic Hopeful Jessica Javelet

We’re very grateful to the donors who support us. We don’t have the biggest budget, and it’s important to have funds to be able to compete with with the top countries in the world. It’s so important to have supporters on our side. Jessica Javelet

Jessica Javelet's story is not an uncommon one in the rugby community. Javelet - better known as JJ - is a crossover athlete who excelled at field hockey early in her athletic career. A three-time All-American from the University of Louisville, JJ eventually joined the USA National Field Hockey team and went on to play professionally in Germany. But after ending her career in Germany and returning to the United States, JJ was missing the competitive outlet field hockey had given her. She found herself wondering what to do next, playing in recreational adult leagues and finding that it did not satisfy her drive to compete. Fortunately, a friend tipped JJ off to the Women's Football Association (WFA), where she ended up playing football for four years.

As JJ was making her mark on the football world, she was unaware that USA Eagle and fellow WFA player Liz Sowers had taken notice. In 2013, the Women's Eagles Sevens were actively seeking crossover athletes who could transition their athletic skills to rugby, and Sowers suggested recruiting JJ. "I think I had juked her out in a WFA game, and she remembered that," JJ recalls. "I got a call from Liz, and she asked me if I had ever considered playing rugby. I had no idea who she was at the time." JJ initially rejected the offer due to other obligations, but after some convincing, she found herself on a plane to Chula Vista three weeks later to try her hand at a sport she had never considered playing before.

Despite the intense training, JJ understands that she is lucky to have the opportunity to represent her country on the international level, and this is especially true when looking ahead to Rio. "I've been very fortunate. I've gotten to go on numerous tours to represent the United States internationally in rugby, and to have the chance to go onto the biggest stage there is to represent my country is a lifelong dream come true," says JJ. "And it's not just about going to the Olympics. It's about getting out there and performing and making everyone proud. It's about showing the world we're a force to be reckoned with. We want to show the world what we can do."

JJ also understands the impact that donors have on the team's success, and on the growth and development of the sport at all levels. "We're very grateful to the donors who support us. We don't have the biggest budget, and it's important to have funds to be able to compete with with the top countries in the world. It's so important to have supporters on our side," she says.


JJ hopes her legacy will begin in Rio. What will your legacy be? Stand behind the Eagles and help USA Rugby Trust raise $50,000 for the Men's and Women's Sevens teams by donating here. Then, share why you choose to support rugby on social media using the hashtag #MyRugbyLegacy.