Men’s soccer goalkeeper Jacob Jackson, a sophomore political science major, was named West Coast Conference (WCC) Player of the Week on Monday for his performance for the week of Sept. 16. The Escondido, California native has played a significant role in the Lions’ success this season, with the squad notching a 5-1-1 record so far this fall. Across the six games he has played, Jackson has allowed no goals on 74 shots faced in 560 straight scoreless minutes. Asst. Sports Editor Jameson O’Neil sat down with the goalie to discuss his individual accomplishments, as well as the aspirations for the team for the remainder of the season.
Jameson O'Neil (J.O.): Catch me up from the beginning of preseason to the first game — how has training gone so far?
Jacob Jackson (J.J.): We started preseason very well. We actually come two weeks early for captain's training. Preseason started ... and then we actually took a trip, as a whole team, down to Chula Vista [to] the Olympic training center facility. Our team actually bonded a lot there — we got to know one another really [well]. We had some up[s] and downs during training, but overall it was a fun experience ... And the first game with Santa Barbara, we were all very excited to finally get back on the field, me included, coming back from an injury. This really is my first year playing college soccer so I was really excited to be back, and I think just the team in general was excited to be back. New year, new team, new faces — so we were really excited for the start of the season.
J.O.: What has been the overall focus going into this season? What is this season’s primary message?
J.J.: We have three real big ones that we keep talking about throughout the team — win the WCC, win a national championship [and] then to be the best student athletes we possibly could be. Those are the three goals of the entire year.
J.O.: You’ve recorded six straight games with no goals allowed and 560 straight scoreless minutes — both of which are program records. What have you done to accomplish these feats?
J.J.: One of our talks that we usually get from the coaches — and something I really believe in — is doing your job. I think that's what I've done very well is just doing my job, being the last line of defense [and] being the guy that has to make the save. But my team ... drives me to perform every day and try my best every day. Without them, I don't know if I could achieve what we've been achieving or what I've been achieving.
J.O.: How is it determined which player starts at goal?
J.J.: None of us actually know until game day. We have four really good goalies. Any one of us can start, so every day is a battle. All four of us are great friends [and] all four of us are very close; it’s a very good goalkeeping group. But again, every day's a competition, and they push me, and I hope I push them every day. And we get better. Any one of us can play at any time.
J.O.: For how long in your soccer career have you been playing goalie?
J.J.: I've actually been a goalie my entire life, since I was little. I started playing soccer when I was four, officially in indoor, and I've played in goal since then because ... I don't know why. My parents told me they have a picture of me running to the goal in my first indoor soccer game as a little kid — I went straight to goal. I guess it just stuck with me.
J.O.: What's the focus for your upcoming games against Cal Poly (Thurs.) and Cal State Fullerton (Sun.)?
J.J.: We take every team the same. We prepare early, we prepare smartly [and] we make sure we got everything touched on. But we're just preparing like it's another game — that's just how it is. We don't look at rankings ... we just keep on playing. It's just another soccer game.