The Next Level
Quiet presence set to make noise
Jacob Sebert, valued by ConVal for steady approach, will play at Merrimack College
Jake Sebert will attend NCAA Division II Merrimack College this fall on a partial scholarship to play soccer. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
At almost 6 feet, 4 inches, Jake Sebert's height and ability to be in the right place at the right time will make him a threat at Merrimack. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Jake Sebert has played midfield and forward in recent years and will play just about anywhere to see time on the field at Merrimack. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Early on, Jacob Sebert knew soccer was the sport for him.
He began playing at a young age and instantly fell in love with everything about it. And it has been his game ever since.
Along with that passion for soccer came a goal of playing it during his college years. While Sebert, a 2013 ConVal graduate, was never quite sure where he’d end up, he knew one day all his hard work would pay off.
“I’ve played soccer all my life, since I was a little kid and my dream was always to play in college,” said Sebert.
Growing up in the area, Sebert has been going to Franklin Pierce games for as long as he can remember. Now Sebert will have the chance to line up against the Ravens for the next four years.
Sebert has signed to play at NCAA Division II Merrimack College in the fall and will compete in the same Northeast-10 Conference as the team he grew up watching. His first chance to play FPU is Oct. 30 in North Andover in the final game of the regular season.
“It will be cool to play them,” said Sebert. “I watched Merrimack and Franklin Pierce play last year.”
And while Sebert, who received a partial scholarship, does not quite know what to expect from his freshman season, he wants to help Merrimack build off its historic 2012 season where the Warriors set school records for goals allowed and longest unbeaten streak, while winning the NE-10 regular season title and earning the first NCAA tournament bid in program history. And he plans on doing anything it takes to see the field.
“I definitely need to improve on quicker thinking and when I get the ball making quicker passes,” said Sebert.
There were other schools in the mix, but he just felt Merrimack was the right choice.
“Merrimack was the last one to talk to me,” said Sebert. “But once they started talking to me, I knew that’s where I wanted to go.”
Sebert does not see himself as someone who is going to set any individual records at Merrimack. The nearly 6 foot, 4 inch midfielder/forward hybrid would rather play the role of a facilitator. It is what has gotten him this far in his soccer career and there is no point in changing things now.
“He is a very cerebral soccer player,” said Merrimack assistant coach Eric Ernst, who also coached Sebert for the FC United of Massachusetts showcase team. “And that is one of the things we look for.”
At ConVal, Sebert played both outside midfield and center-mid, while on FC United he saw most of his time on the outside of the front line in the team’s 4-3-4 system. With his size and ability to control the ball, Sebert is a good fit anywhere on offense.
“He has just an incredible, uncanny ability of being in the right place at the right time,” said Ernst.
Sebert is looking forward to the college style of play where possession and precision passing are more the norm than the boom ball approach that is seen quite a bit in high school soccer. His club team was more of a possession based system, so Sebert’s abilities should translate well to the college game.
“Jake makes things happen,” said Ernst. “He is just constantly working.”
Playing for Ernst is something Sebert enjoyed and is why he picked Merrimack over the other schools that were recruiting his services.
“That was one of the main things about Merrimack because I liked playing for him,” said Sebert.
He also wanted to be somewhere near home.
“It’s nice to be able to have that distance where my friends and family can come see me play,” said Sebert.
While he earned the right to play for Merrimack with all his dedication over the years and talent on the field, Sebert knows it is going to be a lot of work to have that spot on the roster translate into time on the pitch.
“I don’t expect to be starting the first year, but I expect to get some playing time,” said Sebert. “I just need to constantly push myself.”
He has already started his workout program from Merrimack, which includes a lot of timed running designed to have Sebert in the best physical shape possible to handle preseason camp.
“It’s a lot of work, but I’m feeling the benefits of it,” said Sebert. “I will definitely be prepared when preseason starts.”
As a three-year varsity player at ConVal, Sebert played an integral role on the midfield line. While he was not the one to standout, his steady approach made him so important. His senior season did not exactly end the way he was hoping as ConVal was knocked out on the first round of the Division II tournament for the second straight year, but there are still a lot of good memories.
“I had a lot of fun last season, I just wish we could have gone further,” said Sebert.
And he will miss playing with the nine other seniors, many of whom he took the field with for many years.
“We all grew up playing together and shared this bond,” said Sebert.
But Sebert is excited for his next challenge. He has been waiting for this moment for quite some time and finally his long time dream is about to come true.