FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – With the 24th overall selection in Tuesday’s 2022 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas, the New England Revolution picked goalkeeper Jacob Jackson – a 21-year-old out of Loyola Marymount University – who has shown the potential to be successful in MLS.
“Jacob is a guy who was identified by Kevin Hitchcock, our goalkeeper coach,” said Chris Tierney, the Revolution's Player Recruitment Manager. “Kevin clearly knows what he’s looking for in goalkeepers.
“I think he has a good athletic profile, had a good college career so he’ll get working with Kevin right away. I think Kevin thinks he’s going to be able to turn him into a good goalkeeper in this league.”
As a trialist with the prospective chance to sign for the Revs, Jackson is eager to get started with that process right away. Before coming to Foxborough, the coaching staff’s message to the 21-year-old was clear.
“They just told me that the hard work begins now,” said Jackson. “The fun part was over [after the draft]. Getting picked [in the MLS SuperDraft] was a dream of mine and a great experience, but now it's time to join the Revs for preseason and hopefully add something to the team so that we can have another successful season. So, they pretty much told me to get ready for all the hard work.”
As the Revolution are coming off their record-breaking regular season with the best campaign in MLS history, Jackson’s emotions were high to have the opportunity to train with the reigning Supporters' Shield winners.
“When I first found out [the Revs picked me], I was really excited and kind of nervous, just kind of asking myself 'Am I ready for this?'" said Jackson. “And then, with help from my parents and my brother, they all told me that 'You're ready, you're good enough to be here in the draft and you're good enough to get selected.' So, just go have fun and enjoy the experience.”
Jackson even kids that while he was excited to learn the news of coming to New England, he may need to do a little shopping to come prepared.
“To be honest, the first thought that went through my head was do I have a warm enough jacket to survive the winter?” Jackson said with a laugh. “I'm from California, it's really hot, so I'm not used to the cold.”
Luckily, Jackson will heat up in the cold of New England when he gets to training as he will aim to build on his athleticism, especially with the guidance of Hitchcock as well as veterans Matt Turner, Brad Knighton and Earl Edwards Jr.
“They have all the experience,” said Jackson. “[I’m looking forward to] just picking their brains, learning every little detail that they do, whether it's a pregame routine or it's just how to simply catch a ball, and how to act in certain situations. Stuff like that is what I value … I would love to just hear what they have to say and just kind of learn to how to expand my game to the best of its abilities."
Specifically, Jackson is anxiously awaiting his chance to soak up any knowledge from Turner, a U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper who has experience at the international level playing in World Cup Qualifiers, stopping big-time penalties, and winning the Concacaf Gold Cup.
“Watching Matt Turner play on TV, everything about him looks just so calm and so natural,” said Jackson. “So, just kind of figuring out how he gets to that. You know, sometimes I get a little excited and amped up playing. But just seeing him being so calm and all that stuff, that's just kind of the questions I want to ask. And just how they do it, how they wake up every morning, and how they continue putting in the best efforts they can to help the team succeed."