Andrew Jacobson arrived at the YSC Sports complex in Wayne, Pa., with a new outlook on life.
Not to mention a new look.
The 25-year-old midfielder is focused on his second season with the Philadelphia Union. In fact, he’s been focused since last season ended.
“I’ve been very intense in training and getting ready for the season,” Jacobson said. “I felt like I did some good things last season, but I also felt like I could have done so much more. I’ve been working like crazy on my shooting and getting as physically fit as possible to prepare for this season.”
Jacobson is sporting a mohawk for this week of training. And, yes, he has been getting ribbed by his teammates.
Last month, he was married on a cruise through Mexico.
“The time off was nice because I was able to relax,” Jacobson said. “I knew how intense my schedule would be, so the timing was great. As for the mohawk, it was just something different to do. Some of the guys have been joking, asking me if I lost a bet or something.”
Jacobson was acquired by the Union in the 2009 expansion draft. He quickly became a valuable role player and part-time starter in the midfield with his physical play and powerful shot.
In fact, Jacobson was singled out as an impressive player by none other than Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Accolades are always nice, but Jacobson isn’t one to just sit back and enjoy the compliment.
A former star at the University of California, Jacobson spent countless hours in nearby Palo Alto shooting balls into a goal during the offseason.
“I asked the club to send me a bag of 10 soccer balls and I grabbed some local friends and kids to help feed me,” Jacobson said. “I have been working so hard on my shooting. I would lift, stretch, work out and then shoot like crazy. Friends helped me out. I watched a lot of tape from last season and I felt as if I should have had more goals.
“I have spent the time shooting and trying to improve that aspect of my game. I’m very competitive, and I thought I should have done better last season.”
The Union look a whole lot different than last season. That much is obvious with all the new faces at training.
“It’s huge, the difference between now and last season,” Jacobson said. “There is so much competition at every spot on the field. And we’re all so competitive that it’s going to make training that much better. We all want to do so well. It’s going to be fun to see us come together as a team with all of this talent.”
Where will that talent lead?
“I think we’re all very confident here that we can make the playoffs,” Jacobson said. “I know we just started preseason training, but we have the talent and the confidence in here as a group to go to the playoffs. This is where it all starts. This is where the hard work will pay off in the long run. We feel very good about ourselves and we’re all very excited about the second season in Philadelphia.”