Ja­cob find­ing his feet (and hands) in the US

Teen breaks record while in goal for his col­lege side

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT - By Tim Street tim.street@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A YOUNG goal­keeper from Ger­rards Cross try­ing his luck state­side has be­come a record breaker in his first sea­son of US col­lege soc­cer.

Ja­cob Ball­heimer flew across the At­lantic ear­lier this year to start a course at the Col­lege of St Scholas­tica, in Min­nesota, after leav­ing Chal­font Com­mu­nity Col­lege, plan­ning to study phys­i­ol­ogy while mak­ing his mark be­tween the sticks for his col­lege side.

He has cer­tainly achieved the lat­ter al­ready. With his first cam­paign across the pond now over, Ball­heimer re­ceived an hon­ourable men­tion in the CoUp­per Mid­west Ath­letic Con­fer­ence end of sea­son awards.

He said: “It’s been a good sea­son for my­self and the team as we’ve man­aged to set a num­ber of records over the sea­son, in­clud­ing one for my­self as I man­aged to set the record for sin­gle sea­son clean sheets for the team with 14.

“We also man­aged to reach 20 wins in a sea­son for the first time.

“I re­ceived an hon­ourable men­tion in the Con­fer­ence awards, but my aim is to now be mak­ing the Con­fer­ence first team in th­ese awards.

“I feel my first sea­son was suc­cess­ful, as I man­aged to se­cure a start­ing berth as a fresh­man.

“I also man­aged, as pre­vi­ously men­tioned, to keep a high per­cent­age of clean sheets, but the only re­gret for my­self and the team was our fail­ure to win at the na­tional tour­na­ment last week­end.

“The game was played in one of the most surreal en­vi­ron­ments I’ve ever played in, on a pitch cov­ered in four inches of snow and ice, with a white foot­ball, and with the tem­per­a­ture set at around -6°C.

“Other than this last game, I don’t think my sea­son, or the team’s, could have been much bet­ter.”

Ball­heimer, who turned down of­fers from col­leges in both Ok­la­homa and Ge­or­gia in favour of St Scholas­tica, is now champ­ing at the bit for his sec­ond sea­son of col­lege soc­cer, but is keen to en­sure suc­cess on the pitch will not come at the ex­pense of his course­work.

He added: “It feels strange to know the sea­son is over and it’s only mid-Novem­ber, which makes me all the more ex­cited for the next sea­son to start and for us to be able to see if we can build on a very strong first sea­son.

“The hard­est thing has been try­ing to get used to the de­mands of play­ing foot­ball ev­ery day while try­ing to bal­ance my school work, which led to me strug­gling in the first set of exams at the end of Septem­ber.

“How­ever, since then we have had our sec­ond set of exams, which saw a marked im­prove­ment as I feel I man­aged to get a bet­ter grip on the sched­ule.”

WIN­NER: Che­sham United Ladies skip­per Dawne Camp­bell

STATE­SIDE HIT: Col­lege foot­ball star Ja­con Ball­heimer

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