Georgia softball standout Jaiden Fields will help lead the Bulldogs into the SEC tournament, May 9 through 14 in Fayetteville, Ark.

In addition to securing NIL deals and being heavily involved in organizations throughout the University of Georgia and the Athens area, the redshirt senior is having success on the softball field.

Here, Fields discusses NIL deals, community activism and her stellar softball career.

(This interview has been edited for clarity.)

Q: You recently signed an NIL deal with the WWE, what was that process like and what does it mean for you and your softball career?

A: Yeah, so that was a really cool opportunity. I actually kind of got to see what they were doing last summer. I went to an NIL Summit. That’s where they presented the first class (of) athletes that they signed. I was like, ‘Wow, like this looks really cool [and] something that I’d be interested in doing.’ So, I got in contact with their people and then I was able to interview and kind of get that together to sign the deal…You get to like go to all the events and see the behind the scenes with WWE.

Q: When did your softball career start?

A: I started playing softball when I was 8 at a local (recreation) ballpark that all the girls in my elementary school were playing at.

Q: When did you realize that softball was something that you kind of wanted to take seriously?

A: Not until I got recruited. I was just really just out there having fun, not really worried too much about college. Back in the day, they started recruiting kind of early. I committed here going into my freshman year of high school. Close to when I committed is when I kind of was like, ‘OK, this is something that I can do seriously.’ So, seventh, eighth grade is when I really started taking it serious.

Q: Was UGA always your first choice?

A: UGA was always my No. 1 choice. I knew they had a great journalism program so I wanted to be a part of that. But also, I’d been coming to their softball camps since the third grade. Obviously in the third grade, I’m not trying to get recruited, but I just had fun every year. We kept coming back and then in seventh grade, the coaches started noticing that ‘Oh, like she has potential to play here.’…I went to a couple other schools, but it never really felt like home.

Q: You have been involved in multiple organizations such as the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and the UGA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, what drew you towards those organizations?

A: I think just the connections that you can make and the impact that you can make in the community at UGA as an athlete. I’m all about connections….I think it’s important to kind of get involved. Also, just being a representative for my team and just women in sports in general.

Q: Any pre-game rituals or ‘good luck to-do’s” before a game?

A: Not really, I just pray, read my devotional and then just go from there. I’m not really huge into music. I don’t like to really get too hyped up. I like to stay pretty calm and level-headed. But yeah, definitely get into my devotional and spend some time with God.

Q: What legacy within the UGA softball program do you want to leave behind?

A: I just want there to be a good word talked about me. I mean, I have coaches all the time talking about a previous player and how they left an impact, whether that was in the community or on the team (or) on the field in general. I think having good character and then using that as an example in the future would be like the legacy that I want to use. Being a Black woman playing a predominantly white sport, you know, having those little girls that look like me, look up and say ‘Oh, I can do that too since she’s doing that.’ That’s something that I strive for.

Q: You come from a very athletically successful family, what is the bond like between you all?

A: Yeah, even though we play different sports, [we are] still very competitive. It’s always been like that since we were younger. But yeah, we’re all just best friends. If my younger sister (Jessica) ever needs advice about something, being older, I can help her. Same thing with my brother (Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields), since he’s older than me and has had more experiences, I can just come to him if I need advice. So, it’s been great to have them. I think they’re a huge part of my success.

Q: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

A: Hopefully doing broadcasts somewhere or just working in sports in general. I’ll be grateful… Hopefully [I’ll) get an internship this summer and then into the fall. So, hopefully, that’ll lead to something in my career. But I just plan to be working in this field.

Emily Wisniewski is a student in the Sports Media Certificate program at the University of Georgia’s Carmical Sports Media Institute.