Like many suburban kids, Jane Levy began playing soccer at age 5 because, well, that’s what Mom signed her up for. But the star of ABC’s new hit “Suburgatory” -- who also just landed the lead female role in the "Evil Dead" film remake -- got such a kick out of the sport that she continued to play it into college. Manning everything from defender to forward (for two minutes) to right midfielder, Jane competed for both a club team (Novato) and Sir Francis Drake (Marin County, Calif.) High, where she was named captain her senior year. She made varsity at Division III Goucher College in Baltimore, but left before her sophomore season to pursue acting in New York. Though she hasn’t set foot on a checkered ball since, the 23-year-old channels her soccer days to be a team player on the set. --Interview by Cristina Goyanes
ESPNHS: Was there a point in your life, before you started acting, that you thought you could reach the highest level of soccer?
Jane Levy: I wasn't naturally talented, but I worked so hard and committed myself 100 percent. I enjoyed the process of training, learning and hanging out with my teammates.
ESPNHS: Did you attend soccer camp?
JL: Yes, a two-week camp. I miss the smell of freshly cut grass and being up too early. It was such a fun time.
ESPNHS: Do you play anymore?
JL: I completely stopped when I left college at 18. I had a good run and learned a lot. It might sound cliché, but being a team player [helps you understand that you’re] just one piece of a huge puzzle. Its not all about you. That has helped me in everything I do.
ESPNHS: When did you first know you wanted to act?
JL: When I was little, I asked my mom to move us to Los Angeles and get me an agent. She would say, “Stop it. Go play in the dirt.” So I shoved it aside because she did. We both thought, “Well, every young girl wants to be an actress.” When I found myself still having those feelings at 17, I thought, “Maybe this is what I really want to do?” So I went for it.
ESPNHS: So you had a real high school experience?
JL: Totally. I developed a sense of self before moving to crazy Hollywood, which was really important.
ESPNHS: Did you act in high school?
JL: Yes, but I stopped after my freshman year. I started focusing on soccer instead.
ESPNHS: Most memorable moment on the field?
JL: I was really proud of my yellow cards and getting ’em in when I had to. I never hurt anybody. For me, it was more important to save a goal than to make one -- maybe because I wasn’t good at scoring. But when I saved a goal, it felt so good. I had saved my team from taking a bullet!
ESPNHS: As captain, how did you motivate your team?
JL: Every week, we’d have dinner together. We didn’t just talk about sports. We’d cover everything, from boys to schoolwork to what we were doing outside of school. That really brought us together.
ESPNHS: Most embarrassing moment on the field?
JL: I scored an own goal, which is the most painful experience ever. I honestly don’t remember the details. I just know it happened. I probably blocked it out because it was traumatizing.
ESPNHS: Will Tessa, your character “Suburgatory,” ever play sports?
JL: No, she’s not interested in sports. She thinks jocks are dumb. But she’ll soon realize they’re not. It’s just bad judgment.
This story originally appeared in the Spring issue of ESPNHS Girl magazine. Click here to subscribe.