Star soccer athlete Jakob Heuschert reflects
By Lila Cohen, Reporter
Senior Jakob Heuschert has loved playing soccer for as long as he can remember. As a child he spent hours playing with his neighbors in the field outside his home in Switzerland. When he was not playing soccer, he was watching it, eyes glued on German legends Philip Lahm, Bastian Schwiensteiger, and Miroslav Klose, and cheering on FC Bayern Munich with his dad.
When Heuschert was around four years old, he joined CB Zernez, a local competitive club team that he played with until moving to the United States when he was seven.
KICK. Senior Jakob Heuschert competes in a game of soccer. Heuschert has played soccer since he was little, and plans to continue through college. Photo courtesy of John Sage.
Once settling on Vashon, Heuschert played for the Vashon Soccer Club and off-island indoor teams during the winter. Indoor play helped him develop his footwork skills, and kept him playing year-round. The frequently far away practices and games that his mother ferried him to and from are part of the reason Heuschert credits her as his biggest supporter.
Through middle school Heuschert had one goal: to make varsity soccer as a freshman. He succeeded, becoming the only freshman to make the varsity boys soccer team in 2017. Heuschert has since become the team’s captain, earning the respect of the coaching staff along the way.
“Jakob is the ideal teammate. Not only is he one the best players to ever play for VHS, he’s always there to help instruct other players to pull the best out of them on the field too,” VHS boys soccer assistant coach Scott Nicolino said. “Jakob plays the game at such a high level it makes everyone around him better… He’s supportive of every single person on the team and will go out of his way to make sure each and every player is included, no matter what their skill level might be.”
Photo courtesy of John Sage.
In 2019 after a competitive semifinals game versus Lakeside Nine Mile, Vashon claimed their spot in the State Finals. On May 25, 2019, Vashon secured a decisive 3-1 victory over the previously undefeated Winlock/Toledo, closing the season with their first ever State Championship.
“It felt so good to win a title for such a tight knit community,” said Heuschert, “I think it’s a special win, State, you’re really fortunate to get to experience that.”
Adding to Vashon’s glory that spring day was the boys lacrosse team who also claimed a State title.
“There’re so many parents who have watched us all grow up. People on the soccer team have played lacrosse, and people from the lacrosse team maybe played soccer back in the day,” Heuschert said. “There’s of course this kind of criss-cross on Vashon. Everyone knows each other and when you win a big title like [State], they’re right there, and watching it happen. I think it was nice.”
Photo courtesy of John Sage.
A combined celebratory parade added to the sense of companionship between the teams, closing a very proud week for the Vashon community.
With COVID-19, playing in the State championship might not be an option this year, but Heuschert is still working to continue improving his game. He regularly trains on his own, and socially-distanced with friends, but most often can be found playing with his younger sister, freshman Linnea Heuschert.
“[I’ve been] trying to take advantage of the coronavirus situation to work on things that I usually wouldn’t have the opportunity to work on.” Heuschert said.
COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into Heuschert’s future in soccer. He hopes to play at the collegiate level, though the virus has made the recruitment process very difficult.
“Bottom line, I would just like to keep playing for as long as I can, and even if it ends up not being at the most competitive level, that’s okay. I’m just there to play.” Heuschert said.
Hard work and time on the field brings the feelings of improvement and achievement, which are big reasons for Heuschert’s love of the game. Though it is the feeling that comes after scoring a tie-breaking goal that make up some of his favorite moments.
“[Scoring the tie-breaking goal is] just the most satisfying thing anybody could ever experience… [that’s definitely my] favorite part of the game. It’s just the feeling that comes with doing something good for your team.” Heuschert said.