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Jake Crim is an American professional player playing for Stumptown AC in the NISA. Crim, 23 years old, grew up in Maryland and has playing experience for Oberlin College, DC United, and Vaksala Sk in Sweden. Crim is a strong, physical centerback who is not afraid to join the attack and can put the ball in the back of the net,
The Jake Crim Interview
2. You played HS Soccer at the Sandy Springs Friends School before moving on to Oberlin College. How did you get recruited by Oberlin and can you describe the transition from the high school level to collegiate level.
I got recruited to Oberlin while playing National League my senior year of High school. The head coach Blake New came to all 7 of our National League games, in Florida and North Carolina, and that really stuck out to me and showed he really wanted me there. The biggest difference in the college game was the physicality. You go from playing against guys your age, or maybe a year older, to playing against guys 4 years older than you. It’s can be difficult at first but gets easier the more comfortable you are with your team.
3. After three semesters, you left Oberlin to chase your professional soccer dreams. When did it first cross your mind that you wanted to leave Oberlin and what did your family think when you told them?
I knew I wanted to leave college in my second semester, my first off season. Playing D3 you only get 15 official practices and 1 game day during the entire second semester. I realized I needed more soccer than that pretty early on. It took a little while to convince my parents, especially because Oberlin is a very good academic school, but once I fully made my feelings known they were very understanding and supportive.
4. In 2019, you were the only player selected from Loudoun United’s Open Tryouts to join the first team. What was the process of going from open tryout player to all of a sudden playing at the USL level like?
I was a little bit shell shocked at first and definitely had some imposter syndrome, I had only left college a little over a year before, but once we got into the drills I realized I belonged.
5. Before joining Loudoun United, you played for the Nevada Coyotes in the UPSL. What did you learn while playing with the Coyotes and how did that experience help you in preparation for your tryouts with Loudoun.
I learned a lot playing for the Coyotes, both on the field and off it. The 2 most important things I learned were how to be a commander and a real presence on the field, and how to interact with people from all walks of life.
6. What was your biggest takeaway while training with Loundon?
Training with Loudoun was a great experience. It really helped me see the level and learn what’s required to make it in the pro game. You have to be at your very best every day, and that can be hard to do.
7. London United had a working relationship with D.C. United and you got to train with them. How was it playing alongside the likes of Rooney, Acosta, and more world-class players?
Being able to train with DC United was a real privilege. Watching Wayne Rooney practice freekicks after training and marking the pairing of Rooney and Acosta in scrimmages was an experience I’ll never forget. It was a real honor, and it really energized me to get to that level permanently.
8. In addition to training, you also got minutes with the u23 side at D.C United and scored some goals with them. What was the intensity of those u23 games like and with the recent burst of young starlets at D.C. United such as Moses Nymen and Kevin Paredes, I have to ask, did you play alongside any of those guys?
Playing with the DC U-23s was a lot of fun. Most of the teams we played were in the NPSL or USL 2, so the intensity of the games was comparable to those leagues. I never played with Kevin Paredes, but got to play with Moses Nyeman and Bryang Kayo at Loudoun and both were very good in the sessions.
9. After your time in Loudoun, you moved to Sweden to play with Vaksala SK, how did this opportunity come about?
One of my old teammates from the Nevada Coyotes was in a similar situation so we decided to just pack our bags and go there to try and find a team. We both ended up playing for Vaksala SK through a guy who my friend had played NPSL with a couple years before.
10. How was the level of play in Sweden compared to America?
Playing in Sweden was very interesting. Everyone there is technical, but not necessarily athletic, whereas in the USA everyone is Athletic, but not necessarily technical.
11. Overall, how was your experience both on and off the pitch in Sweden?
I loved Sweden. I really want to go back. Everyone there is very friendly and eager to practice their English so it was a really welcoming environment.
12. Now back in America, you signed a professional contract with Stumptown AC in NISA. Describe your emotions after signing your first fully professional contract?
Signing with Stumptown was a great feeling. I missed all of 2020 with a knee Injury so signing a contract coming back from that really validated all the hard work I did while I was injured. I was and am very happy to be here.
13. The past year and a half being one of the craziest 18 month stretches the world has ever seen with COVID-19, how has NISA been doing at managing COVID and making sure everyone is safe?
NISA has done a pretty good job dealing with COVID. Almost everyone on our team has been fully vaccinated, and those that aren’t are tested regularly.
14. Stumptown is current sitting 3rd on the standings, what are your expectations for this season and for your career in the future?
We finished 3rd in the spring season. I think that was a good result, considering we held open tryouts a month before our first game, and started preseason 3 weeks before. Unfortunately I am currently sidelined with an ankle Injury but once I return I hope I can help Stumptown push for the league title. Looking forward, I really want to go back to Europe. I loved being in Sweden and I really just want to see how high up the ladder I can climb.
15. Who’s your biggest role model and why?
On the field my biggest role models are Virgil van Dijk and Paolo Maldini. Maldini once said “if I have to make a tackle I’ve already made a mistake” and that is a very important sentiment to me as a centerback.
16. You’ve taken an unconventional path to the professional rankings and it has paid off, what’s your biggest piece of advice to youngsters aspiring to go pro?
My biggest piece of advice is never give up, never give the opponent an inch. There were plenty of times in my career where I thought about giving up, but instead I put my head down and started working harder and that’s why I am in the situation I am today.
A huge sports fan who loves to learn about all sports, from every corner of the world!