Republic FC’s Dominik Jakubek is proving to be ageless ponder

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 5:23 AM

That journey made the one-0 triumph over the Sounders two in Seattle on March twenty-five even sweeter for the team’s No. 1 goalkeeper and one of its most favorite players.

Republic FC’s Dominik Jakubek is proving to be ageless ponder

To keep his first USL opening-night start into perspective, Republic FC goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek reflected on the journey: years training and honing his skills as a backup; moves from one financially struggling team to another; low-paying odd jobs and countless youth coaching gigs that supported his drive to be a professional soccer player.

That journey made the one-0 triumph over the Sounders two in Seattle on March twenty-five even sweeter for the team’s No. 1 goalkeeper and one of its most favorite players.

“It’s been three years of tough work, so I was pleased to be rewarded with the start,” said Jakubek, who at thirty-sixth is the oldest player in the 29-team USL. “The outcome was great. The team in front of me played fantastic.”

Signed as an insurance policy after an invitational tryout despite being out of pro soccer for a couple of seasons, Jakubek is proving that with patience and a lot of tough work, it’s never too late to create an impact.

“I think that being from the area and having the opportunity to play in front of my friends, family, the guys I used to play Sun league with and the kids I coach and train really motivates me,” Jakubek said. “I’m passionate about what I do, whether I’m on the bench cheering for my teammates or in the game. Why wouldn’t you? This is the best work in the world, and it’s the most fun I have had.”

It’s been quite an odyssey for Jakubek since his high school days in Lodi. He was a first-team All-American who helped lead Chico State to the NCAA Div II championship in two thousand-third; one of his teammates was Chris Wondolowski, the San Jose Earthquakes and U. S. national team forward.

Jakubek played a couple of indoor seasons for the defunct CA Cougars, had a brief cup of coffee with the Major League Soccer Columbus Crew and spent some time with the short-lived CA Victory, the San Francisco-based USL franchise. He even played two seasons as a field player for a fourth-tier pro team in his native Poland.

He was coaching at a community college in San Diego in two thousand-thirteenth when he heard Sacramento was launching a USL team.

Jakubek was signed to play behind Jake Gleeson during Sacramento’s inaugural season, but because of injuries to the Portland Timbers’ loan player, Jakubek started sixteen matches during the team’s USL championship run.

Jakubek was on the bench most of latest season, backing up Patrick McLain, presently with the MLS Chicago Fire. But when McLain was sidelined by a shoulder injury late in the season, Jakubek had eleven saves and allowed one goal in four regular-season matches to assistance Sacramento reach the postseason.

“Dominik was excellent for me latest season,” Republic FC coach Paul Buckle said. “To wait as long as he did and train as tough as he did, I know how challenging that can be. Presently he’s got his opportunity, and I've total faith in him.”

Director of football Graham Smith, a former higher-level goalkeeper in England, knew he'd a nugget when he signed Jakubek.

“Dominik has incredible character, incredible resilience and enthusiasm,” Smith said. “He’s been an unsung hero and has made some vital saves. As a goalkeeper, he's love a bottle of wine. He's matured as he's gotten older.”

Jakubek knows his keep on the position is tenuous. In the offseason, Republic FC signed former San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper and USL veteran Evan Newton, who excelled in losses to the CO Rapids and Earthquakes in Feb friendlies while Jakubek recovered from a neck injury.

Jakubek credits Newton and goalkeeper trainer Simon Sheppard for “keeping me on my toes.”

Newton isn’t surprised Jakubek still has the passion and is able to carry out at a high level.

“He takes care of his body by doing Pilates and yoga,” Newton said. “As a goalkeeper, if you get care of yourself and you're fortunate with injuries, you can generally latest until your late 30s.”

Jakubek believes he can play beyond that, but whether that’s as a starter or a reserve won’t affect his role as one of the team’s ambassadors. He generally participates in Republic FC community events, including shaving his head for a recent St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser for childhood cancer.

He still coaches and trains players in two area youth soccer clubs, where he also knows he’s developing future fans, if not a future player or two for the franchise that likely will be in Major League Soccer by the time they become adults.

“Now the kids look our team and say, ‘Oh, Wow! I wish to be a portion of that,’” Jakubek said. “That is what’s most necessary about Republic. It gives kids a chance to fulfill their (dreams). I wish we'd that when I was a youth. But it’s here now.”

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