Seeing Jacob Jackson launch himself in the air to make a great save on Thursday, you likely wouldn’t think he was a rookie.
But the 24th overall selection in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft signed his first-team contract a few weeks ago (February 15) and has shown what he is capable of.
The 6’2” goalkeeper born in Escondido, California said that training has been intense but he feels he has already made improvements as a player. He credits New England Revolution goalkeeper coach Kevin Hitchcock, who Jackson describes as the best goalie coach he has ever worked with.
“He’s pushing me everyday,” Jackson said. “I already feel that I’m improving. Every day is a day to learn and improve so as long as I keep doing that I feel great.”
Jackson isn’t the only person that has noticed his game improving. Revolution goalkeeper and future Arsenal player Matt Turner was impressed by Jackson, even saying that the rookie reminds him of himself.
He’s a great kid, he’s eager to learn, and reminds me a lot of myself, actually, when I first got into MLS,” said Turner. “It was somebody who needs the work, but he has the things that you can’t really teach. I don’t want to hype him up too much in an interview if he sees this, because I know every day in training I’m going to be pretty hard on him, and as well as our goalkeeper coach [Kevin Hitchcock] and Brad [Knighton] and Earl [Edwards Jr.] will all be really hard on him and will hold him to a certain standard, and he’s lucky to be around guys that understand what it takes to sort of climb through the ranks, be consistently at a certain level every day in training, and yeah, I think he definitely has a future in this league. I think he was a steal in this draft, and I’m excited to be working with him every single day, and I think, like I said, bright future ahead for him.”
Jackson said that Turner’s praise means a lot to him.
“I look up to Matt,” Jackson said. “Matt’s challenging me in every single way possible and that means a lot because that means he’s going to take care of me and really push me to become a better goalie and a better person and I can’t thank him enough for that. Same thing with Earl [Edwards Jr.] and Brad [Knighton]. They are all looking out for me.”
With the regular season kicking off on Saturday with New England facing off against the Portland Timbers, Jackson told The Bent Musket what he is aiming for in his rookie season.
“Continue improving, continue fighting for what I want.”