BIRMINGHAM – Former UAB forward Jillian Porto was part of the both of UAB’s Conference USA’s championship squads that went to the College Cup.
Statistically, the Virginia native finished her career in the Top 10 in points, goals and game-winners. Her 260 career shots and 82 matches played are still school records.
UABSports.com had a chance to reconnect with Porto to talk about her post-UAB career that began with a career in sport marketing and changed to working in law enforcement.
What has been your timeline from graduation from UAB?
After graduation I continued to play soccer for another for a couple of years. But a back injury eventually led me to getting an internship with the Atlanta Falcons as a marketing intern. I worked in sports marketing for while and then I ended up going into government work. I’ve worked in law enforcement for the past eight years in Washington D.C.
Leaving UAB did you know what you wanted to do professionally?
I always wanted to work sports marketing with the NFL. That was my dream job. The Falcons job was me reaching that goal of what I wanted to accomplish, but for a long-term situation it was difficult, so I moved back to the Washington D.C. area. I began working for the University of Maryland in their athletics department. While working there, I applied for a government position job and randomly got into law enforcement. It is funny because when I was at UAB, I was deciding on marketing and criminal justice majors. I wound up majoring in marketing, but I ended up in the criminal justice field for my long-term career.
Have you had a chance to get back to UAB recently?
I have. I went to a couple alumni events. The most recent was during the fall and it was awesome to catch up with everybody. We got to play the current team that is always fun. It’s always good to see the new up-and-coming players and it’s exciting to see UAB and how the campus is growing. The sports programs are growing and the athletics facilities are amazing and as well as the support staff. I follow some on social media and to see that support is awesome.
What have you seen changed on the campus?
I am almost jealous. The playing field on campus is amazing. I got to see the team play on the field during the alumni game. It was great to see Stacey Torman, who was our strength trainer when I was there, and see the weight room facility which was amazing. Even just seeing the new buildings that were built is great. When I was there, it was more of a commuter school and now it is being built more into an on-campus school.
Coming out of Northern Virginia what attracted you to UAB?
UAB was my last visit. I liked Coach (Paul) Harbin. I liked that he was aggressive on and off the field. But the team – I really enjoyed being around them and coming on the visit solidified my decision. I called my Mom while I was there and told my her this is where I wanted to play. She said once I come home, we can talk about it. But once I met the coaches and the players, I was set on being a Blazer
Do you you keep in touch with a lot of your former players?
I do. My best friend Katie Henricks we talk almost every day. We get together whenever we can in Atlanta and try to meet up with some of our former teammates. We keep up with each other through social media and we try to get together for the alumni game every year. That bond you form in college … it really never goes away.
What would you say is your best UAB soccer memory?
I would say, obviously the championships in 2004 and 2006. Going to the NCAA tournament. The 2006 came in as a #7 seed that and we won Conference USA. That was the biggest and most exciting time because it happened out of nowhere.
I loved the travel. There were so many hilarious stories that came from our time on the road which bonded us as a team.
Women’s soccer season tickets are on sale by purchasing the 2020-21 Gold Card for $65 here. The Gold Card is an exclusive offer that grants you admission into all UAB men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, women’s basketball, baseball and softball events for the upcoming academic year. Contact the UAB Ticket Office at (205) 975-UAB1 for more details.
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