WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Jess Johnson, a 2020 Monmouth University graduate and member of the women’s soccer program, has been announced as a conference-level nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
Johnson and Rider University women’s basketball player Stella Johnson were selected by the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference from nine school-nominated student-athletes. Those were revealed last month. The duo is two of 59 Division I selections for the award. A total of 161 college athletes across all three NCAA divisions remain in the running for the award.
The NCAA Woman of the Year program is rooted in Title IX and has recognized graduating female college athletes for excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership since its inception in 1991.
Johnson earned the nomination following a stellar senior season in which she helped lead the program to its fourth consecutive NCAA tournament berth. She played a major role on Monmouth’s NCAA-leading defensive unit as a senior in 2019. The Hawks led the nation in goals-against average, save percentage and shutout percentage and held their opponents to an NCAA-low four goals against. Monmouth won its fourth-consecutive MAAC Regular Season and Tournament championship as Johnson garnered Scholar-All East Region, All-Atlantic Region Second Team and All-MAAC first team accolades.
A two-time team captain who also excelled off the field, Johnson became the first Monmouth student-athlete to be awarded an NCAA postgraduate scholarship. She graduated with a 3.90 grade-point average as a Social Work major and has been recognized as a Dean’s List student and MAAC All-Academic Team selection on multiple occasions. Johnson co-founded Monmouth’s FLIGHT Academy, which pairs incoming student-athletes with upper class students in an effort to help first-year athletes navigate their new environment. As the Monmouth Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President, Johnson has led her peers in enhancing their community service efforts, as well as adding additional mental health programming on campus.
The Woman of the Year Selection Committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will choose the Top 30 honorees — 10 from each division — from the conference-level nominees. The Top 30 honorees will be announced in September. The selection committee then will narrow the pool to three finalists from each division. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will select the 2020 Woman of the Year from the nine finalists.
The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named this fall.