A text message from her aunt broke the news.
Jaden DeGracie-Bailey had just set Arizona soccer’s all-time assist record, and she didn’t even realize it. That is until she received a congratulatory text message.
“My aunt Debbie, who lives in Tucson, follows soccer on Twitter,” DeGracie-Bailey said. “She’s the one that sent it into our family group text and everyone was so excited. … I had no idea until everyone was saying congrats, and I was like, ‘congrats for what?’"
In a 2-2 tie with Texas Tech on Friday, DeGracie-Bailey tallied her record-breaking 20th career assist, putting her atop the program’s all-time leaderboard.
DeGracie-Bailey launched a flip-throw toward the opposing box late in the second half, where it was gathered by teammate Cali Crisler, who knocked it in for a go-ahead goal.
Having just taken a 2-1 lead against a top-20 team on the road, the assist record didn’t even cross DeGracie-Bailey’s mind.
“I had no idea, actually,” she said. “When I throw the ball, it’s always a jumble. So I was just excited that we scored. I didn’t even think about if someone touched it or if it came just from me or what happened. I just knew that we scored and we had to keep the lead.”
DeGracie-Bailey, lost in the moment, may have needed her aunt to deliver the news, but it’s not like she was unaware of the record altogether.
When DeGracie-Bailey arrived at the UA in 2013, becoming the school’s all-time assist leader was her goal from the get-go.
“This is what I wanted to do,” she said.
Arizona soccer’s motto is “building a legacy,” and DeGracie-Bailey has done just that.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Arizona head coach Tony Amato said. “We recruited Jaden and talked to her about doing something special here as a program and how she would be a piece of that.”
While DeGracie-Bailey has already done something special, the senior still has almost an entire season left to continue building her legacy.
“It is amazing,” DeGracie-Bailey said. “I’m kind of in season mode right now, so I took just a second to think ‘wow, this is what I’ve been working for.’ But at the end of the day, I can’t just let that define who I am. I have to keep pushing forward and [I am] still looking and hoping to get more.”
DeGracie-Bailey’s key to success is her work ethic and ability to embrace who she is as a player.
“She’s a strength-oriented person [who] knows we want her delivering crosses to get assists and using her flip-throws and she’s gotten assists both ways,” Amato said.
Fittingly, a flip-throw is exactly how DeGracie-Bailey recorded her historic assist.
“It wasn’t going to happen any other way,” Amato said. “It was perfect.”
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