The Roughriders, who won the first state soccer title in school history last year, are 11-0 this season and are atop the Metro League.
Avery Jacobson hasn’t lost a soccer match since late September. It’s been quite a run that Jacobson has been part of with his club team, Seattle United, and this spring with the Roosevelt High School boys soccer team.
Jacobson, a University of Redlands commit, is a big reason why the Roughriders are flying high, ranked at No. 5 nationally in the USA Today Sports Super 25 Expert Rankings. Roosevelt, 11-0 overall and 10-0 and atop the Metro League, is making strides toward an encore performance to last season’s Class 3A state title run, a first in school history.
With Jacobson as the centerpiece on offense at his attacking midfielder position as an experienced senior, the Roughriders are on an unprecedented run.
“I haven’t lost a game that I’ve played in since my birthday …,” said Jacobson, who has 10 goals and four assists. “When I finally lose, I’m not going to be sure what to think. I’ve been on a winning team almost all my life. I’m just really grateful for it.”
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Jacobson helped his Seattle United ’99 Copa team win a state title in February. Roosevelt’s No. 5 ranking nationally is one of the best for Metro boys soccer teams in league history. Roosevelt is also No. 1 in the MaxPreps.com state rankings.
Roosevelt coach Gary Hunter believes the national ranking is the high-water mark for the school’s program, which finally reached the state-title match for the first time last spring.
“It’s not something we really talk about,” Hunter said. “It’s nice to be recognized and I’m sure the kids know, but we’ve got a lot of season left.”
Are the Roughriders headed for the state title again despite losing 14 seniors off last spring’s title club?
“There’s really been a challenge of getting new guys to step up and it’s just showing how deep our program is from varsity all the way to down to JV and C (team),” said Jacobson, who is one of seven returning starters. “We were missing two players last year in the semifinals, one with grades and another with an injury and we still ended up winning those two games. It’s just because our roster is so deep. The next guy in line just laces up his shoes and goes in.”
Through Friday’s 7-0 rout of Cleveland, Roosevelt boasted a 36-4 advantage in goals and eight shutouts against Metro foes.
“We’ve got three clean sheets against Ballard, Lakeside and Garfield and those are usually our toughest games of the year,” Jacobson said. “Our center backs have such a good partnership back there.”
The defense is anchored by junior captain Rowan Calvert and senior Hayden Barnow, both center backs. They are flanked by seniors Elliott Jones and Rowan Medlock and backed by goalkeeper Ryan Davis. Calvert comes off a fine sophomore season in which he was named all-state first team in Class 3A and Barnow was awarded all-state second team.
The latest run was borne out of one of the most painful losses in program history, a 2-1 state quarterfinal loss to Mercer Island in the 2016 state tournament. The Roughriders dominated the match, outshooting the Islanders 22-7, but fell when the Islanders struck twice in the final six minutes for an improbable 2-0 lead before Roosevelt got on the board in extra time.
“I just remember the final whistle blowing and the seniors are all slowly walking around and they just were realizing, ‘This is my last ever high-school game,’ ” Jacobson said. “There was a lot of emotion after that game. The bus ride home was awful. We just did not want that to happen again.”
Jacobson, a three-year starter, along with Calvert and fellow senior Alex Low all remain from that gut-wrenching defeat in 2016.
“That’s what why I was so emotional when we won our (state) quarterfinal match last spring,” said Hunter, who is in the fifth year of his second stint leading the program after a tenure in the late 1990s. “It was getting over the hump for us.”