Jen Hoy ’13
Jeffrey Auger Photography/Courtesy Sky Blue FC
Soccer has taken Jen Hoy ’13 around the world and back to New Jersey. Now in her sixth year as a professional, the forward has played for the Chicago Red Stars and the Newcastle Jets in New South Wales, Australia, and this season, she finds herself a stone’s throw from Old Nassau with her new team, New Jersey’s Sky Blue FC.

“Soccer has this incredible magic to it, where you’re able to build a family all across the world,” Hoy said. “I’ve met some really special people, and I wouldn’t have ever been able to do that without soccer.”

In fact, she was one of the first women of her generation to get such an opportunity. Hoy’s graduation year coincided with the first season of the National Women’s Soccer League.

“Had I graduated a year earlier, my life would’ve been totally different,” Hoy said.

Given professional women’s soccer’s past in the U.S., the long-term success of the NWSL is still in question, but most agree it’s off to a good start. Having been a part of it since day one, Hoy is optimistic.

“There has been an incredible amount of change,” she said. “The quality has gotten higher, standards have significantly improved. We have a long way to go, but we’re absolutely moving in the right direction.”

The same could be said of Hoy. A speedy attacker who excels at getting into dangerous positions, Hoy had the second highest-scoring season in Princeton history in 2012, netting 18 goals and earning Ivy League Player of the Year honors as she led the Tigers to an Ivy title.

After spending most of her life within a few hours of her home in Sellersville, Pa., she set out for Chicago the day after graduation to begin her professional career. She scored 15 goals in 78 appearances for the Red Stars before seizing the opportunity to go on loan to Australia.

This offseason, she was included in one of the biggest trades in the history of the NWSL, transferring to Sky Blue FC along with U.S. national team legend Carli Lloyd. Hoy said she was thrilled to be working alongside Lloyd, who scored her 100th international goal in April.

In addition to training with and learning from one of the most famous players in the world, Hoy is also studying to become a holistic health coach. What started as a love of cooking and nutrition has developed into a passion for food education as well as a side-career writing for her blog, Jenuine Foodie.

“I want to post really practical, helpful tips,” said Hoy, who recommended bulk cooking and superfoods as tonics for the hectic life of a professional athlete (or any young professional). “I really do believe that the majority of our population exists with deficiencies.”

Hoy sees nutritional education less as a retirement plan and more as a skill she will develop in tandem with her soccer career. She is optimistic about her future in the game and her opportunity to “contribute to an offense that’s unpredictable” with Sky Blue FC.

The club, another founding member of the NWSL, plays at Rutgers’ Yurcak Field in Piscataway. Sky Blue FC hosts the Houston Dash on Saturday, May 5, at 7 p.m.