Sept. 1, 2009
BERKELEY - Jacob Wilson, a senior defender for California's men's soccer team, is in his sixth season as a Golden Bear. CalBears.com spoke to the Fremont, Calif., product as Cal's 2009 regular-season opener - Friday, Sept. 4, at Georgetown - approached.
CalBears.com: You had a medical redshirt in 2007 and redshirted in 2004 as a true freshman. What's it like to be in your sixth year at Cal?
Jacob Wilson: It was difficult during the years when I was injured; having to sit on the sidelines and watch my teammates play.
CalBears.com: Do your teammates ever joke with you about being at Cal for so long?
JW: Freshmen are turning 18 and I am turning 23. I'm five years older than the freshmen, and they do make jokes about me being here forever. There's a big age difference, but it is not awkward because I feel more a leader and guide others along.
Calbears.com: What was your injury in 2004?
JW: I broke my foot in freshmen year.
CalBears.com: What was your injury in 2007?
JW: I tore my hamstring during the third game of the season. At the beginning of the season during captain's practice, just us players, and I lunged for a ball and my hamstrings tightened up. During the season my hamstring was still really tight. I did some rehab and stretching but not too much. During the third game versus Wisconsin, I came out at halftime and wasn't that warmed up. I was sprinting and ran for the ball and my hamstring just gave out on me. I tore my hamstring off my butt bone and they had to surgically reattach it and put a pin there. I was on crutches for a long time afterward.
CalBears.com: You're a social welfare major. What do you want to do after graduating from Cal?
JW: I originally intended to be an MCB [microcell biology] major, but with soccer I couldn't pursue both. I decided to be a social welfare major after I was introduced to the social major advisor. I don't plan on being a social worker; my priority is soccer. I hope I can play soccer after this year. But social welfare can get me a long way in many areas.
CalBears.com: When are you graduating from Cal?
JW: Fall 2009.
CalBears.com: You started out as a forward, and now you're a defender. Which position do you prefer to play?
JW: I don't prefer one over another. I think they require different skills, fitness and quality. My coaches see a lot of defender's quality in me, and we needed help in the backline. So I was transitioned to a defender.
CalBears.com: Do your parents or siblings have a soccer background?
JW: Yes, at one point or another all my family members played soccer.
CalBears.com: How good will your Cal team be this year?
JW: I think we will be the best we've ever been since I've been here. I have a lot of faith in my teammates. We have a lot of experience and a lot of young talent. We can do really well.
CalBears.com: How has the Cal team changed from 2004 to now?
JW: Our coach has done a really good job recruiting. We are now considered a soccer powerhouse. We are much more nationally recognized now than we used to be. Players and coaches are more focused.