Over the next two months, The Draft Road Not Taken with Jeremy Ebobisse will be giving you an inside look at one of the MLS’ top prospects, through his own words and stories, leading up to the 2017 MLS Superdraft.
Jeremy Ebobisse is considered by many the top prospect in January’s MLS Superdraft pool of players. But how did he get here? What path did he take to put himself in this position? Who helped the most?
The son of Alain and Liza Ebobisse, Jeremy was actually born in France . His parents, mom from Madagascar and dad from Cameroon, were college students there, and that’s the place they met. Then, when Jeremy was two, the Ebobisse family moved to Bethesda, Maryland, where he was primarily raised.
His mom, dad, and older brother Patrick have all had a huge impact on molding the young man preparing for this big next step. Jeremy explains, “My parents always reminded me that no matter how well or poorly things were going in school or soccer, these endeavors would always require an exhausting grind.” He adds, “In keeping me level-headed, they told me that my goals would never be enough to satisfy me, and that as soon as I hit one goal my eyes would be immediately set on the other. They keep me hungry, emotionally neutral, and humble.”
"Jeremy on the importance of soccer: “What started as a casual way to exercise and bond with my family, turned into a way to express myself, and take a step back from everything else going on in life.”"
Patrick has served as a role model, and in house opponent, over Jeremy’s life. Talking about the impact of his older bro, Jeremy says, “My brother is a bit of everything. I can go to him for day-to-day issues and talks since he has gone through similar phases in life and shares my competitiveness. He’s the reason for some broken furniture in our house, and the occasional bruises resulting from playing in the tight confines of our living room. He’s a role model to me in life and pushes me to be a better, more complete person everyday.”
Patrick was a collegiate soccer player as well, playing at Williams College. Jeremy was able to observe his brother’s soccer career, and all of the different circumstances he encountered. “My brother is the reason I started playing. I still remember going to his games, ball in hand, when I was too young to join a formal team. It just seemed natural for me to follow his lead and lucky for me, his coach at the time had a younger team as well that I was able to join,” Jeremy recalls.
“Whether through picking club teams or going through college recruitment, his experiences set me up to make easy, fruitful decisions. He always texts me after my games and asks me to reflect on my game while also giving me his feedback on the positives and negatives. We have always had rivalries in the house with the teams we supported as well,” says the thankful, younger brother.
Another influential soccer figure was Zinedine Zidane. Being born in France, to French speaking soccer fanatics, the French national team was the first team he followed, and their star, Zidane. “His elegance on the field and mastery of the ball is something I don’t really see as much these days. Still to this day, I find myself watching highlights of his playing career. I wish I had been able to watch him live more,” Jeremy describes his respect for the French legend.
A lot of kids grow up thinking they will be professional soccer players, and obviously, very few achieve that. Jeremy realized he could fulfill that dream as a sophomore in high school. He explains, “Coming off of a couple strong years in USYSA National League, I was lucky enough to train with Fulham’s academy in England, where I got very positive feedback.
Though they asked me to stay full time, passport issues would prove the biggest barrier, and I had to put that dream on hold. From then, my family and I realized my dream was becoming an attainable goal. We have always been an education-first family, but we all started to shift our focus a little at that point.”
As he approaches his selection in the MLS Superdraft this January, Jeremy looks back at how important soccer has been in his life. “Soccer has meant a lot to me growing up. What started as a casual way to exercise and bond with my family, turned into a way to express myself, and take a step back from everything else going on in life.
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Soccer has meant so much to different people and cultures, and following along their trends, it became a stress free haven for myself. These days it isn’t perfect all of the time, but I know that when I step on the field, nothing else really matters and I can just go out and enjoy myself, while fulfilling my on-field duties,” expresses Ebobisse.