Few players have made as big of an impact in this season’s USSDA than Bethesda-Olney’s ’97 striker Jeremy Ebobisse. Ebobisse has netted 12 goals in only 9 games for the Maryland super-club.
Ebobisse was born in 1997, but has been playing against older players for a number of years. He was a part of the extremely successful Olney Rangers program that included Sean Cowdrey (University of Indiana), Chase Gasper (UC-Santa Barbara), Jake Rozhansky (University of Virginia) and Arsenal FC starlet Gedion Zelalem. Ebobisse was an integral part for the Rangers multiple title winning teams playing both out-wide and as an out-and-out striker.
In 2013 the Olney Boys and Girls Club (known in the area as “OBGC”) teamed up with Bethesda Soccer Club to form Bethesda-Olney, a Voltron-like USSDA program, for which Ebobisse is not only succeeding but thriving. Ebobisse’s play made him one of the most coveted recruits in the nation. We have Ebobisse as the #2 recruit in the nation for 2014.
U.S. Soccer has been slow to call in Ebobisse despite his stellar play in the USSDA. Ebobisse was invited to a U.S. U18 camp in September as well as last winter’s National Combine at Nike headquarters in Oregon, but was left out of the most recent U.S. U18 camp.
We had the opportunity to chat with the Bethesda-Olney attacker:
OWTY :: Where and when did you start playing soccer?
Jeremy Ebobisse :: I started playing soccer around age four in a local recreational league, before joining Bethesda Soccer Club at the age of seven.
OWTY :: Who are some of the players you try to emulate? Which player’s style is most similar to your own?
JE :: Although his antics off the field are portrayed to be mischievous and unprofessional, Mario Balotelli is definitely one of my favorite forwards and I try to emulate his game. Besides his ample amount of confidence, Balotelli can hold the ball up well, finish accurately, and use his pace to get in behind. But more importantly, he is always unpredictable so defenders can never really know what to expect from him. I would say that I play similarly to Ibrahimovic going forward, as I prefer the ball to my feet as opposed to in behind. I don’t have the same physique, but I can still hold defenders off with my strength and I can also run at them with skill.
OWTY :: Describe your development–which clubs, coaches and players have you played with over the years?
JE :: Growing up, I had been fortunate to play a year up with some of the best talents in the area. I was a member of Bethesda Soccer Club prior to my move to at u14 to Olney Rangers, however everywhere I went there were quality players bringing the best out of me in order to improve myself and the team. I fluctuated from left back to outside mid and striker growing up but I finally found a comfortable position up top around u15. I would say that the quality of coaches that I have had, along with the numerous players with national team experience, has been crucial to my development.
OWTY :: Talk about your first season in the USSDA.
JE :: The first season in the academy with Bethesda-Olney has been challenging, nonetheless it has been more than rewarding. As a team, most of us Rangers moved to Bethesda-Olney and we have been lucky enough to finish our first half of the season at the top of our conference. With the constant challenges from PDA, Philadelphia Union, and D.C. United, as well as others, we were able to adapt to a challenging level in order to cement our presence in USSDA.
OWTY :: Despite starring for a top USSDA Academy, playing two years up, you’ve been left out of many U.S. National Team youth camps. Why do you think that is?
JE :: I have been lucky enough to be called up to two national team camps, one being the ’97 March camp in 2013 and the u18 camp in September. While I feel as if I have been performing at the club level, I don’t have an answer as to why I haven’t been called up as much. I know that there are a number of good forwards already in the program, so I just want to keep working hard and hopefully I can go to some more camps because I think I can offer something.
OWTY :: Would you continue to welcome the call-up to U.S. youth teams?
JE :: Yes, it is every player’s dream to represent their country and I would gladly welcome a chance to take part in the U.S. youth teams.
OWTY :: What is your preferred position?
JE :: While in the past I have been deployed out wide and at attacking mid, my preferred position as a lone central striker.
OWTY :: You’ve committed to Duke; what attracts you to their program?
JE :: Duke has a number of ACC championships and several players that play professionally, so it quickly became one of my top choices when they showed interest. The coaches really seem to know what they’re doing on the field and our philosophies with regards to the game happened to intertwine. Besides Duke in itself, playing in the ACC against the some of the best programs in the country seemed quite lucrative and could not be overlooked when I made my decision.
OWTY :: Rumors continue to swirl that overseas clubs have taken an interest in you. Would you welcome a move abroad?
JE :: I would consider a move abroad. I have been lucky enough to spend some time abroad playing for different clubs and I realized that it was a completely different culture over there. Seeing a different perspective is always beneficial, so a move abroad could really permit me to further improve my game in a professional environment.
OWTY :: Where do you see yourself a year from now? Five years from now?
JE :: A year from now I see myself at Duke. Five years from now, I hope to be playing either in the MLS or in England, France, or Spain. I definitely want to play abroad in the future but there is a lot of work that needs to be done between now and then. I am still young and have a lot to learn in order to reach the next level.