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Leaving his mark

Senior defender Jerry Howard says his team’s epic turnaround began with practices in the rain

Gregory James

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Jerry Howard sends the ball downfield during the Knights’ 2-0 victory over Reagan on March 9 at Nelson Field. The win was the team’s eighth victory during a nine-game unbeaten streak to end the regular season. Photo by Isaias Cruz.

The Shield: When and why did you start playing soccer?

Jerry Howard: I started playing when I was really young and I kept playing. I started playing when I was 3, so it’s been 15 years.

TS: What has been your favorite part of McCallum soccer?

JH: It’s actually my first year at McCallum. I transferred in the last six weeks of last school year. I really like the coaching staff here. Coach Martin and Osorio are awesome, and our group as a team has a lot of depth. We’ve had a lot of injuries, but we are a solid group and we push each other.

TS: Where did you go to school before McCallum?

JH: I went to Round Rock High School as well as this school in Dallas called Lone Star High School.

TS: Outside of school, what teams have you played for?

JH: Outside of school I used to play for Lonestar’s Academy during my freshman year at Round Rock, and in Dallas I played for FC Dallas’ academy my sophomore and junior year. This year, I’m just playing McCallum soccer.

TS: Is there any significance behind your jersey number?

JH: Not really, I just wanted one that fit, and I wear a large. Only 21-25 were large so I thought 23 was the best number so that’s why I chose that one.

TS: What position do you play?

JH: Defense.

TS: Do you plan to play soccer in college?

JH: Not NCAA, maybe intramural.

TS: Are there any schools that you are thinking about in particular?

JH: Not really. I’ll just see where I end up academically first.

TS: What schools have you applied to?

JH: I’ve applied and got accepted to TCU, SMU, Houston and Indiana University. I have applied and I’m waiting to hear from Northeastern, Boston, and Washington University in St. Louis.

TS: What has been your favorite memory from this year in McCallum Soccer?

JH: I like the practices where it has been raining, and we still go out there and make it really fun. Gamewise, I’d say scoring my first goal was really exciting.

FIT TO BE TIED: The Knights took on the Travis Rebels tonight at House Park on Jan. 31. The game ended in a 3-3 tie with McCallum’s goals coming from Ezekiel Sengiyunva (17) and Gerry Howard (23). The Knights went up 1-0 in the first half with a goal from Sengiyunva. The Knights extended their lead to two with a header from Howard, and shortly after, Travis scored to make the score 2-1. Later, Sengiyunva added a second goal, which was later answered by two late goals by Travis to tie the game at 3-3. Photo by Lindsey Plotkin.

TS: What will you miss most about McCallum soccer?

JH: When you play high school sports, you represent all your friends and have them come to your games; you represent your school too, so I’ll miss that. This is probably my last year playing competitive soccer, so I’ll miss that as well.

TS: Do you feel the team met its goals that were set the team at the beginning of the season?

JH: We started of really rocky; we lost almost every game in preseason. But during district play we’ve done well, and we’re coming together. I definitely feel like we’re hitting a stride and that we made the playoffs, and that was our main goal this year.

When you play high school sports, you represent all your friends and have them come to your games; you represent your school too.”

— Gerry Howard

TS: What do you like about playing defense?

JH: I like the challenging physical aspect of it. Pushing people off the ball and going for headers. It’s not like the attackers who just dribble the ball; I like to attack the ball and be physical with people.

TS: What do you plan to study in college?

JH: I really want to study business economics or quantitative analysis.

TS: What game did you score your first goal at McCallum in and how did it feel?

JH: I scored my first goal in the game against Travis (on Jan. 31 in a 3-3 tie), and it felt really great because I played goalkeeper before this year, so it felt good to be out in the field my senior year. I don’t get a lot of chances to score so when I can it’s cool.

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Leaving his mark