2020 Seasons 260×40

Former NPSL Goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek Continues to Learn and Adapt His Game On and Off the Pitch

39-year-old goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek is one of the brightest personalities in all of American
soccer. When he signed with Reno 1868, he retook the coveted title of the USL’s oldest player.
This title was once taken from him by the likes of Didier Drogba, and the former NPSL player is
taking it in stride while still adding to his already impressive resume.

“When the USL season started I got a hold of the coaching staff in Reno and asked if they are
interested in a goalie coach/third keeper,” Jakubek said. “And the answer over the speaker phone
was ‘we don’t know 40-year-olds out here Dominik.’ But I told him ‘it’s a long season, I won’t
be surprised if you call me back later’ and sure enough about a month later Chris gave me a call
asking if I wanted a dual role as a goalie coach/third keeper.”

Even with that call, Jakubek was not convinced yet. The final inspiration came from a source
that may seem surprising, but made a big difference to Jakubek.

“At first I was like ‘no thank you’” Jakubek said. “But then they said I had a free room in the
Harris Casino with all you can eat in the cafeteria, and I’m a huge food guy. I love food so I was
like “ok” and honestly my life was getting kind of stale in Sacramento so the opportunity made
my life more exciting.”

Jakubek is an experienced NPSL player that has played for both Sacramento Gold FC and East
Bay FC Stompers. Jakubek’s 2018 season with the Stompers in particular is something he
credits with helping him continue his career.

“I really have to give a lot of credit to the East Bay (FC) Stompers,” Jakubek said. “Without that
platform I probably wouldn’t have had a chance to play pro…I think that really helped a lot,
being able to play every weekend and able to keep fit, without it, I don’t know if I even would
have had the confidence to go out to Reno.”

The adjustment to a fully professional atmosphere, high altitude, and the heat was a challenge for
Jakubek. He struggled at first, but now that he’s settled in Reno he’s finding his groove and
enjoying his time.

“The first three weeks in Reno I was like I don’t even know what I was doing out here, the speed
of play, the elevation, it was difficult,” Jakubek said. “But now I’m having a good time, I’ve
found my form again, and I’m actually really inspired to maybe play another year if that’s
something they would want me to do.”

Jakubek’s versatility as both a player and a leader make it very possible that his career will
continue into his 40s. While not an official player- coach, Jakubek has brought it upon himself to
help the young goalkeepers with Reno, many of which split time between the USL side and their
MLS affiliate San Jose Earthquakes.

“I don’t know if I’m ever going to get a game, but I’m turning 40 this year, my drive’s not to be
the starting keeper in Reno, I’m just there to be a good leader, good guy in the locker room, I
have some championship rings so maybe that experience will help,” Jakubek said. “But honestly
if I keep training for two or three months maybe I will really catch my form and I will have to
push these guys…I know I’m working towards becoming a high-level goalie coach but I’m not
counting out being a starter one day, and if they put me into a game, I’m going to be ecstatic.”

Though Jakubek is still fighting for a chance to play on the field, his main focus is on setting
himself up for his post-playing days: days where he hopes to be a goalkeeper coach at the
professional level. He’s currently focusing his time with Reno with that goal in mind.

“For me the transition is natural, I coach youth teams in Sacramento, but here I’m really excited
to coach professionals,” Jakubek said. “With professionals it’s more fine-tuning things with their
game and I love that part. And there’s also learning. When two San Jose goalkeepers come in,
we always sit down and talk and figure out how we want to approach training today or a certain
aspect of their games and the conversations are really in-depth and it’s great.”

From here on out, Jakubek is focused on being the best goalkeeper he can be now, so he can
become the best coach he can be, with some added perspective from a field player’s point of
view.

“I know I told you last time that I wanted to play as a field player in the NPSL…well I did that
with Sacramento Gold, and it was hard, and look, I can play the game, I have the IQ, the touch,
but I didn’t have the conditioning,” Jakubek said with a laugh. “I had a blast, but at the end of the
day I know where I belong.”

Where Jakubek belongs, is anywhere in or around the game of soccer, as proved by his 15 years
of goalkeeping experience. Considering Jakubek’s winning history, infectious personality, and
passion for the game, expect to see Jakubek between the posts or on the sidelines for many years
to come.

Photo Credit: EBFC Staff and Donnie Graham

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