The Daily Pennsylvanian asked Penn men's soccer's Dane Jacomen 15 questions about his sport, his time at Penn, and life overall. Here's what the junior goalie had to say.
1. Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Dane Jacomen and I’m from Pittsburgh. I came to Penn as a freshman and transitioned from playing with DC United to being the goalkeeper on Penn men's soccer. I am a PPE major with a minor in environmental sustainability and management.
2. What is one thing you miss about not playing soccer right now?
I really miss playing matches at other fields and competing against other teams. The hype of gameday and the excitement of winning is unmatched, and I can’t wait to feel all of that again.
3. When did you first discover a love for soccer?
I first discovered a love for soccer in high school. Up until then, I was a dual-sport athlete, playing both soccer and baseball. In high school, a set of upperclassmen on the soccer team took me under their wing and made me believe in myself, and that’s when I started to embrace the game and found a love for it.
4. Which three words would you use to describe yourself?
Intelligent, athletic, humble.
5. Who is your ultimate sports idol and why?
Tim Howard. He is the former goalkeeper for the U.S. Men’s National Team. He has overcome a lot of adversity to get to where he is now. Even though he grew up with Tourette syndrome, which is a really hard obstacle to get over, he didn’t let it take away his love for the game. Howard also values family more than anything, which is something that I value too.
6. Do you have any gameday rituals?
We have a pregame meal in the dining director’s room as a team. After the meal, our coach gives a pregame talk based on our opponent for the day. During the meal, we watch replays of soccer games from the past weekends to get into a good mindset and also to get excited for the game. After our meal, the team does whatever they need to do to physically and mentally prepare for the game. Then, before the game, we all come together in the locker room, circle up, and get ready to go play and have fun.
7. What is your favorite part of playing soccer for the Quakers?
The relationships I’ve built here over the past two and a half years. I’ve gotten close with all my teammates, sharing experiences on and off the field. My time here on the team is definitely going to be something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
8. How do you manage sports and academics?
It’s a hard thing to do and something that a lot of us on the team have had to learn. In high school, we would also play sports and have to manage schoolwork, but now at college, it’s at a much higher level. Time management is the biggest part that’s helped me. I try to get as much work done before training because after training, I’m too exhausted to do any work. I also make sure my sleep schedule is good so I can wake up early and get work done during the day.
9. What is your favorite soccer memory ever?
The Yale game last year where we beat the Bulldogs, 1-0, in double overtime. At the time, Yale was ranked 24th in the country. To see them move on to win the Ivy League championship after that game was gutting but also gave us confidence and made us optimistic for the next season.
10. How do you feel you have grown since you were a freshman walking into your first practice?
I’m now more confident and more open than I was as a freshman. I’m sure of myself as a player and a person. I had some really good guys that were upperclassmen to look up to that have shown me what good leadership looks like. I’ve also definitely found the middle ground between being confident and knowing who I am versus thinking I know everything, because I can always learn more and gain more knowledge.
11. Did you develop any new hobbies over quarantine?
I started mountain biking! I would mountain bike at Frick Park in Pittsburgh with friends from back home.
12. How has your team been managing during this season?
We’ve been doing a fantastic job to continue to keep a training schedule. Since it’s completely player-driven now, it shows our commitment to the game and to each other. The team has been training three times a week and is working in conjunction with other colleges and club teams to try and schedule scrimmages.
13. What do you hope to be remembered by here at Penn?
Having a good influence, especially on the underclassmen. I like to think I’m someone people can come to for advice and tell me what’s on their mind, and I want to use that quality to the best of my ability.
14. What’s next for you after you graduate?
In terms of soccer, I aspire to go on and be a professional soccer player. In the work realm, I’m interested in having a job that’s related to environmental sustainability.
15. What’s your biggest piece of advice to someone looking to one day be in your shoes as a Division I soccer player?
Work hard and control what you can control. At the end of the day, having mentally known that you did everything you can to achieve your goals will give you peace of mind and the ability and confidence to achieve your goals.
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