New Orleans Jesters and NPSL alumnus Andrew Tarbell has enjoyed a distinguished career in MLS. The Mandeville, LA native has appeared in 54 games (51 starts), tallying 4,736 minutes, 166 saves, and six clean sheets. Tarbell has starred for some of the top clubs in the league, including the San Jose Earthquakes, Columbus Crew, Austin FC, and Houston Dynamo FC.
This season has been particularly special thanks to Houston lifting the U.S. Open Cup after an exciting run in the prestigious tournament. Tarbell was appreciative of the opportunity to play in such big games.
“Getting to play in the Open Cup games was great for me to get a chance to play in some games,” Tarbell said. “I’m always excited to have that opportunity to help the team so I prepare in the same way. As I do every game, whether I’m playing or not, my process is the same. So when the Open Cup rolls around, I’m not doing anything different. Just happy to get the opportunity to play and help our team win these games.”
Tarbell was a key player in the U.S. Open Cup final, helping the Dynamo defeat Inter Miami CF 2-1 with a strong defensive performance.
“Honestly, it was a lot of relief when the final whistle blew,” Tarbell added. “And then afterwards, it was a real joy just to be part of this. This whole group put in five, six really spectacular performances to win. And it’s really great for Houston and this club to get something done and win a trophy. So I’m just really proud to be part of this club winning games. And we obviously want to continue to do that in MLS and the playoffs this year. So it was a really special moment for me and for the club.”
Tarbell has always been an elite player, and he has proved that at every level. He finished his collegiate career at Clemson as arguably the best goalkeeper to ever play for the program. He earned just every award imaginable, including NSCAA All-America, College Cup All-Tournament Team, All-ACC First Team, and CoSIDA Academic All-District honors.
He has earned a reputation for coming up big in the biggest of games, and the U.S. Open Cup Final was certainly not his first go-around. Back in 2015, Tarbell registered eight saves in the national semifinals against Syracuse, leading the Tigers to the College Cup final. At the time it seemed like playing for a national title would be the biggest game he ever played in, but that proved not to be the case.
Tarbell’s rise to the highest levels of the game started in the NPSL with the New Orleans Jesters.
“I was lucky enough to play for the New Orleans Jesters under Coach Kenny Farrell,” Tarbell concluded. “He found me out of high school and gave me an opportunity to play some games there when I was young so that was huge. For me, it was a big learning experience to play with grown men and great players. I had to grow up quickly. Shots are coming in a lot faster; crosses are a lot more difficult to deal with. The whole game was more difficult for me. To go from the high school club level to the NPSL, that was a big step. I’m really grateful to the Jesters and Coach Kenny Farrell for giving me that chance because it helped me prepare for college which then helped me prepare for being a professional. I am really happy and grateful for my time with the Jesters. It’s a great route for players to take, and there are great opportunities in the NPSL.”
This is just another success story for a player that got his start in the NPSL and went on to a decorated professional career. Tarbell’s story was not the first, and it certainly won’t be the last.
Photo Credit: Houston Dynamo FC