Penn State Soccer’s Ellie Jean Shadows College GameDay’s Maria Taylor

Penn State women’s soccer defender Ellie Jean had the chance to learn from ESPN reporter and College GameDay analyst Maria Taylor Saturday.

As part of her involvement in the Winning Edge Leadership Academy, Taylor invites minority student-athletes to job shadow her at each game she covers during the college football season. She routinely meets with students across campus to answer questions and give advice.

“I know that there were a ton of other people who wanted to do it, so I was really honored that she picked me,” Jean said.

Last week, Oregon volleyball player Ronika Stone followed Taylor around the set of College GameDay and, later, the sidelines of Autzen Stadium.

Saturday was Jean’s turn to gain valuable hands-on experience in her prospective field during the Penn State-Ohio State clash. The redshirt junior advertising/public relations major from Coventry, Connecticut has started all 12 matches for the Nittany Lions this season.

Jean drives the ball upfield in a 4-0 win over Ohio State on Sept. 14.

“It was great to have someone like that really invest their time in people like her who want to have opportunities like this,” Jean said. “I think she’s running a great program.”

Taylor was a standout volleyball and basketball player for the Georgia Bulldogs from 2005-2009. She joined the College GameDay crew prior to the 2017 season after Samantha Ponder took over as host of Sunday NFL Countdown.

Jean, an Academic All-Big Ten selection, took a redshirt during the 2016 season in order to represent the U.S. at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea. She helped the Nittany Lions win their first national championship as a freshman in 2015.

Jean is a key component of a veteran Penn State defense that has allowed just eight goals heading into Friday’s trip to Michigan State. Taylor gave her some parting advice before leaving town for the Red River Showdown between Texas and Oklahoma.

“If you work hard enough and you believe in yourself enough, you can do great things,” Jean said of Taylor’s message. “I think she’s a perfect example of that. You can see how hard she works and how passionate she is about doing what she does. It was just really cool to see.”

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About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected].

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