Optometry Student Continues Her Soccer Passion
UMSL College of Optometry third year student, Jessie Crabtree (’18) is not your typical optometry student. She is the daughter of UMSL Optometry graduate, Dr. Trevor Crabtree (’91). While Jessie’s passion for optometry is evident, her passion for soccer doesn’t take a back seat during optometry school. She not only performed well for two Division I collegiate programs, she was also the conference player of the year. “I played club soccer for Metro United (now Scott Gallagher) starting when I was 14 years old. I went on several visits throughout high school and ended up committing to Mizzou on a full ride scholarship. I really enjoyed my experience there, playing various positions. I transferred for my senior year to Southeast Missouri State University,” she said. The transfer allowed her to be closer to home and to shadow different optometrists and start working towards her professional career. While at SEMO she was named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year. Out of her four years of collegiate soccer she earned three conference rings, two Big XII rings and one OVC ring. Her passion did not end with soccer, however, as she was awarded no less than 19 letters for her participation in high school varsity sports which is an Illinois state record.
Her biggest supporter has always been her father, Trevor. Her father currently has a practice in Marion, IL and has made the commitment to support and watch Jessie (and later her sister Rose) play club soccer in St. Louis. This commitment meant a two hour drive (one way) for soccer practices, games, and tournaments, “Driving Jessie and her sister Rose to St. Louis was an easy decision. They have always had a competitive fire burning within them. That fire has led to some great accomplishments for both of them not just in soccer, but in life,” he said.
Jessie’s soccer career is far from over and definitely includes coaching. She continues to play semi-pro soccer for St. Louis Fire and Ice and for the past seven years has served as a coach for SMSC girls soccer club and the U16, U17, and U18 Scott Gallagher Soccer Club. She has also been assisting Coach Wendy Dillinger with UMSL Women’s Soccer team. What has made this very special is that this year she is actually helping coach her sister, an experience that she cherishes. “Coaching my sister has been an incredible experience because I get to be a part of her growth process. She has already played a vital role for her team through her work ethic and ability to come in and change momentum,” she said. Jessie is excited to continue to watch her sister transition into a leadership role and excel throughout the conference. She believes her sister will be one that teams will have to look out for in years to come. And Coach Dillinger is excited to have the entire Crabtree family engaged in the women’s soccer program: "Jessie Crabtree has been a tremendous addition to our coaching staff. Her passion for soccer, knowledge of the game and charismatic personality bring an energy to our players that's contagious. Jessie's dedication and commitment to her studies also make her a role model for our student-athletes. Jessie's sister Rose is a freshman on the team this year and has made an immediate impact in contributing to our success. Rose was my very first recruit and I knew she would be a special addition when she visited campus her sophomore year in high school. We are very fortunate to have added the Crabtree family to our soccer program. Trevor and Karen are incredibly supportive and we are thrilled to bring the family back to UMSL as they enrich the campus community in so many ways."
While soccer is a huge part of Jessie’s life, her primary interest has always been optometry and she has a great role model. “Optometry has always been an interest as a profession in the back of my mind. Watching the success of my father and knowing I always wanted to work with the public helps. These thoughts in combination of my fond interest in the eye anatomy itself made optometry seem like a perfect fit,” she comments. Her father couldn’t be happier that she chose optometry. “I am thrilled that Jessie is pursuing a career in optometry. It's a perfect fit for her. Since the day she was born Jessie has been a loving caring person. Her compassion for others is heart warming. She has the sincere desire to help others in any way she can. This is what optometry should be. This is what all of us should aspire to...caring for others should always be our primary motivation.”
Her future includes playing and coaching soccer and returning to Marion to work with her father in his practice. Her father is excited for the future, “I can't wait for Jessie to return home. I'm proud of the practice I have been able to build over the past 26 years. She will fit right in. We focus heavily on the medical side of optometry while still providing excellent optical services. She is already making a name for herself at school for her exceptional clinical skills. I could not be more proud.”