Cameron Tucker has never lived outside of Utah, but that’s about to change. The forward from Highland, Utah just finished up her fifth season at Brigham Young University - and to celebrate, she has signed a two year contract with NJ/NY Gotham FC.
“It’s super exciting,” Tucker said in an exclusive interview with Jersey Sporting News. “I’ve never lived or had any experiences outside of Utah. I’m excited to go out to New Jersey - I’ve heard really good things about it, and I think it will be a great experience to grow.”
Tucker was eligible for last year's NWSL Draft, but opted to play an additional year at BYU. Her time there will certainly prove to be invaluable for her pro career. Her numerous accolades and accomplishments include scoring 43 goals and 29 assists over her collegiate career. This year, she was named to the 2021 Women’s College Cup All-Tournament Team after helping lead her squad to the 2021 NCAA College Cup Final for the first time in BYU history.
— BYUtv Sports (@byutvsports) November 22, 2019
Gotham FC acquired Tucker's discovery rights earlier in the season. So instead of registering for the upcoming 2022 NWSL Draft, she decided to take the leap, across several states, to join her first professional team - and she’s ready for the challenge.
“The speed of play will be quicker than in college,” Tucker explained. “The level of competition and players around me will be better, but I will prepare by continuing to train before I even get there.”
A Taste of the Pros
Although the scenery might be new for Tucker, not everything will be unfamiliar. In 2019, Tucker played for the Utah Royals Reserves, the WPSL affiliate team of the former NWSL Utah Royals side. It was there that she got to train under Gotham’s head coach Scott Parkinson. “I occasionally would go play with the Royals senior team when they needed practice players, and that’s where I had my experiences with Scott,” Tucker said. “He’s a great coach, and I loved it.”
In fact, Parkinson’s role at Gotham was a big factor in her decision to sign with the team. “I love Scott both as a coach and as a person,” she said. “When I got to play with him at the Royals, he was uplifting, motivating, and he brought out the best in me.
— BYUtv Sports (@byutvsports) February 7, 2021
From what Tucker has heard and seen, Gotham has a great team culture, and she can’t wait to find her place in the club. “I don’t think every team has that culture,” she said. “I’m excited to be surrounded by it, because I know it will make me better on the soccer field and make me a better person.”
For Tucker, her entire life has been leading up to this moment. She first remembers kicking around a soccer ball at the age of four, and has been in love with the sport ever since. “From the very beginning, I’ve always loved it,” she recalled. “My parents always told me that even when I was little, they could see how competitive I was and how much I loved it!”
It has always been her dream to play professionally, but it was her experience with the Utah Royals Reserves that sealed the deal. “I got a little taste of what it was like, and that’s when I decided I wanted to go pro,” she said. During her time with the Royals, Tucker played under coach Amy LePeilbet. “That was a big turning point in my career,” Tucker said. “Her belief in me really pushed me to see what I am capable of.”
A New Challenge
With the 2022 season fast approaching, Tucker feels ready. “All my experiences at BYU, my coaches, my teammates, have prepared me for this,” she said. “BYU was a great, competitive environment that will help me move forward into the NWSL.” Tucker also credits her coach at BYU Jennifer Rockwood for helping her get to this moment. “Her belief in me has really pushed me,” she said.
As for what she hopes to accomplish this season, Tucker is dreaming big. “I would love to be a top goal scorer- or maybe even rookie of the year!” Tucker said. But no matter what, she wants to make an impact, work hard, and make people proud. “I want people to be confident in the fact that Gotham wanted to sign me.”
Tucker takes her new role seriously, and she can't wait to show everyone what she has to give to this team. “I want the fans to know how excited I am to be here, and how lucky I feel to be able to represent Gotham,” Tucker said. “I’m ready to work hard and do what it takes!”
To see Cameron Tucker and the rest of Gotham FC play next season, visit GothamFC.com for ticket information on 2022 tickets.