NGWSD: Jayde Robertsen's journey as a female student-athlete

Jayde Robertsen has looked up to many athletes throughout her volleyball career and now, during her fourth year of eligibility, she is someone that young athletes can look up to.

Robertsen has had some accomplishments throughout her volleyball career so far from being ranked number two player in BC in 2017 to winning the U Sports Women’s Volleyball Championship with UBC in 2019. These experiences have helped shape her into the player she is today.

Getting ranked top 2 after Kiera Van Ryk was memorable for Robertsen because she always looked up to Van Ryk in her sporting career even though they were both the same age.

“It was so cool. The best part about it was when you're playing against her, it [made] you better too. To be ranked close to her was huge for my confidence as an athlete. To be like okay, maybe I'm good at this too,” said Robertsen.

20220202 i falsetti jayde robertson-2

When Robertsen transferred to UBC after her first year, she got the chance to play with Van Ryk along with other notable T-Birds such as Victoria Behie, Ciara Hanley and Samatha Patko.

When reflecting on that 2019 championship game, Robertsen commented that those moments are why you play high level sports. With many of these talented athletes moving on from their UBC careers, younger athletes like herself had to step up to be the next leaders.

Robertsen had a lot of support throughout her time as a female athlete with her mother, her family friend Jodie Porteous — a former member of the softball national team — and her dad who played for the rugby national team. Robertsen said she grew up around "really strong, powerful and athletic women."

“It wasn't 'this is an athletic girl' and 'those are athletic guys', they were just athletic kids. So, I didn't really see a difference between gender at that point in my life, which is obviously a huge testament to having strong women around you," said Robertsen.

20220202 i falsetti jayde robertson-4

Robertsen said she faced hardships when making the decision to transfer to UBC as well as through her concussion injury, but remarked that the great thing about female sports is that “you’re surrounded by 18 to 22 other very strong females who share similar values."

"They are here supporting me and I’m supporting them,” said Robertsen.

Robertsen loves the program at UBC, not only for athletics, but what it means for her personal growth. “The first thing Doug and Beathen told me was that at the end of these five years you're going to become a better volleyball player but also a better person,” she said.

Robertsen not only excels on the court, but is also one of the record 278 UBC student athletes to have been recognized for earning Academic All-Canadian status for the 2020/21 school year.

One of her first memorable experiences with a female role model was her former basketball coach, Marlene Charles, who coached her for two years of basketball when she was around 13 years old.

“It was my first taste of being good at something but also having someone tap me on the back and say if you stick with it you will be good,” said Robertsen.

20220202 i falsetti jayde robertson-3

When asked if there are any UBC female athletes she would like to give a shout out to on National Girls and Women in Sports day, Robertsen said she would have to pick all of them.

“You are around these amazing strong women regardless of where you go. I think that's just a great measure of success in yourself. When you can look to either side of you on a day to day basis, regardless of your environment and be like 'oh, this girl is teaching me so much,'” she said.

Robertsen gave advice to younger athletes that all opportunities are available by surrounding yourself with people that have done it.

“When you get that opportunity, do everything in your power to make it happen. I would have never thought I'd be at UBC doing what I'm doing. But I owe all my success to my past coaches, my current coaches and the people I got to play with throughout these years of my athletic career," said Robertsen.

"I think you are a huge product of your environment.”

Today, February 2, is National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NSWSD).