If you’re not familiar, the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders are the top cheer program in the country, meaning they’re one of the hardest teams to make. Well, not for Jada McLean. At just 21 years old, she made the team this past year, beating out 1,500 other women for seven available spots, all on her first time ever trying out. Jada is a 2018 Palm Springs High School alumni and according to her, dance has always been a huge part of her life.
“I actually started dancing when I was two and a half, my mom decided to put me into dance to help with my coordination, and I stuck with it. I grew up in a studio in the valley called The Dance Program. I danced there my entire life until I graduated high school. I just decided that I wanted to continue dancing, so I pursued it in college.”
Jada knew what she was getting herself into when she went through the tryout process to become one of America’s Sweethearts.
“It was definitely a challenge I knew going into it was not going to be easy. It’s been the opportunity of a lifetime, in all honesty, to be a part of a team that is just so highly recognized all over the world and that lots of little girls want to be a part of. I had always dreamed about being a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. I had a love for Cowboys my entire life. I thought you know, why not cheer for the team that I love cheering on anyways, every Sunday.”
Sandie Newton has been a judge for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders for the past 20 years, and she explains that what Jada accomplished was no simple feat.
“She has to be a little superstar because the competition is fierce. Not only do the girls trying out come from all over the country, they come from all over the world. To make it, so much goes into the training, they have to be expert dancers. That’s really number one, and one thing that some of the girls may not know until they actually show up for the audition process is they really want girls that are kind, compassionate, that are sweet, and smart. They really want to represent America’s team for sure. Because after all, they are America’s sweethearts.”
It might seem like a lot to be a cheerleader for a professional football team, but the standards to become apart of the Dallas Cowboys franchise have always been extremely high. The Cowboys are, after all, the most popular (and most profitable) sports franchise in all of professional sports, all over the world.
“It’s quite an accomplishment and she can be so proud of herself. Having done it for 20 years, I know what it takes, I know the dedication and the perseverance and really constantly dancing. They’re really athletes and for her to be able to step out of a small market, a small town, and rise to the top is so impressive. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Jada is extremely proud to be from the Coachella Valley and hopes that her story of hard work and dedication can inspire young athletes.
“I want to show people out in the valley, you know that we can make big sometimes people feel like you have to be from LA or you know, you have to go to these big schools and be a part of these huge teams, you know, to make it. It’s awesome to have support from back home. I have a lot of friends who are Cowboys fans and to know that I not only have the support of the amazing people here (in Texas) but all the Cowboys fans back home.”
Jada will soon graduate from UC Davis, but for now, she’s going to enjoy her time as one of America’s Sweethearts.
“I would definitely want to continue cheering even after I graduated college. Hopefully one day I will go to vet school. I think it’s all really up in the air, but no matter what I do, I think I’m excited for it.”