Jacob finding his feet (and hands) in the US
Teen breaks record while in goal for his college side
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