Captain Keeling leader of the JimmiesThere is no place on earth for pro soccer like England. Football players are groomed early to be pros, but not college players. In fact, University football, as it’s known there, kind of falls to the wayside.
By: By Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
There is no place on earth for pro soccer like England.
Football players are groomed early to be pros, but not college players.
In fact, University football, as it’s known there, kind of falls to the wayside.
That’s left an opening for American colleges to swoop in and steal some pretty solid players.
No better example of that is Jamestown College.
The Jimmies have a strong English contingent, including team captain Jack Keeling.
The recruiting process is not all that different from that of an American teenager.
Tapes are sent to a clearinghouse, of sorts, which mass distributes them to coaches across the U.S., which is where Keeling fits in.
“I got a lot of emails from coaches, but most of them felt like mass emails,” said the Leamington Spa, England native. “The difference was coach Bohn. His (email) was much more personal, and I think all of the guys would say that.”
Six of the seven Jimmies named to the all-A.I.I. team on Friday are from the United Kingdom, including Keeling, goalie Thomas Cooke, Jack Humphries, Matt Balshaw, Jack Hartley and Jonathon Lodge, who is from Ireland, the other five are from England.
But Bohn, who was named coach of the year, says Keeling, a redshirt sophomore, is the captain.
“He is the leader of our team,” Bohn said. “He’s made a big impact for us.”
Keeling and the Jimmies (15-4-1) take on Rocky Mountain College today at 2 p.m. in Billings, Mont., in opening round action of the national tournament. The winner earns a trip to Alabama for the 16-team national championships.
Keeling suffered a sprained ankle in the first meeting between the Jimmies and Bears (13-2-2) this season. Rocky Mountain has won both meetings this season, but it’s a game the Jimmies feel they can win.
“It’s a good matchup for us. I’m glad to be healthy for this match. I think we have what it takes to win, but it won’t be easy,” said Keeling, who has seven goals and five assists in 16 games.
Keeling said American soccer stacks up fairly against English football, although nobody would argue Britain’s superiority on all levels. Although there is one area where Americans do have an advantage, he said.
“The players are more athletic (here). The size and strength, that’s a difference,” he said.
The Jimmies are having their best season in the program’s six-year history. They’re in the NAIA rankings for the first time at No. 24. Rocky Mountain’s program is a year younger, but is too enjoying its best season. It’s a proper pairing, said Bohn.
“We’ve kind of mirrored each other, so it’s fitting that we’re playing each other,” he said.
Keeling expects another spirited match, but believes his team is ready to take the next step.
“We’re playing well. I think that shows in our results,” he said. “There’s no reason we can’t continue to play like we have.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com