The senior goalie has recorded 10 shutouts for the Lower Merion boys’ soccer team this fall (as of Monday), and was voted first team All-Central League netminder. Outside of the Lower Merion pitch, he is a goalie with the FC Europa U17 Crunch team, which is ranked No. 14 in the country and No. 1 in Pennsylvania.
Q: As a goalie, does on-field communication with the defense play a big role in your success?
A: Totally. I try to communicate with the team as much I can. Sometimes at the end of the game I lose my voice.
Q: What do you think is the strongest aspect of your game as a goalie? What part of your game are you working on the most currently?
A: I am good at PK’s – I saved five out of seven last year. My distribution could be better.
Q: You mentioned that a save you made during the Aces’ 1-0 overtime win Sept. 24 stands out in your memory. Can you describe how the play unfolded, and your role in it?
A: They had a really good striker up top, he beat through the defense and tried to slot it in the left corner. I had to react quickly with my left hand, and I just got to it.
Q: What do you think has been the key(s) to the Aces’ defensive excellence this fall?
A: Senior captain David Smith is one of the best center backs I have ever played with, and he plays alongside Thomas Podrasky, who is a very solid All-Central League defender. We have two strong outside backs in Som Safavi and Zach Goldstein.
Q: You were a field player until eighth grade. What sparked your original interest in the goalie position?
A: In eighth grade, our goal keeper was injured and I stepped in to fill in for him, and I played well.
Q: On Aug. 24, former LM boys’ soccer coach Bob Davidson brought his group of athletes preparing for the upcoming Special Olympics to Lower Merion to train with members of the current LM boys’ soccer squad. Players from this year’s varsity and JV teams helped train members of the Delaware County Special Olympics team on technique before playing a couple of short matches. What is your most vivid memory of that day?
A: It is the second time that I participated in this event. It is always a great experience. I randomly paired up with a kid and he happened to be a goalie as well, which I found funny that we would gravitate to one another. Hopefully, I gave him useful tips.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-game preparation the day of a game.
A: I always do the same thing in every warm up. Coach [Nico] Severini always gives us a speech right before warm-ups. We head out to the turf where the captains lead our four lines to do footwork and stretches. Me and little Sebi (LM junior goalie Sebastian Connelly) head out to do our own warm-up, where we take turns with passing and shots on us.
Q: Who have been your biggest mentors as a goalie, and what was the most important thing you learned from each one?
A: Coach Cronin always works with me in practice and before games. The Haverford College goalie coach, Paul Stintson, trains me – hoping I would join The Fords – but I will be playing soccer for Franklin and Marshall.
Q: What uniform number do you wear? Why did you pick this number – was there a particular reason?
A: For my club team I am the traditional No. 1, but at Lower Merion the No. 1 goalie jersey was too big, so I picked the smaller No. 0.
Q: What do you think you might like to major in at Franklin and Marshall? Is there a career path that particularly interests you at the present time?
A: I’m looking to study business and possibly join my parents in real estate and building development.
Fun facts – Sebastian Jenkins
Favorite book: The Call of the Wild.
Favorite author: Dr Seuss.
Favorite TV show: Game of Thrones.
Favorite movie: 007.
Favorite athlete: Wayne Rooney.
Favorite pre-game pump-up song: Oooouuu.
Favorite team: Manchester United.
Favorite place to visit: Dominican Republic.
Favorite pre-game meal: “Sandwich that my mom packs me.”
Favorite color: Red.
Person you most admire, and why: “Rashford because of his work ethic.”
Birth date: Feb. 15, 1999 in Philadelphia.
Family members: Stephen (dad), Francesca (mom), Joaquin (11-year-old brother), Sofia (22-year-old sister), Milo (dog), Fausto (cat).
(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)