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Jacob Howell’s ESPN-Worthy Goal

The first home game of the season is revered by athletes everywhere. For the boy’s varsity soccer team of Forest Hills Eastern, the first home game was particularly memorable, especially for Jacob Howell (‘20), who scored what he described as “one of the most memorable goals” of his soccer career.  

Jacob, who has been playing soccer for eleven years, switched to play center back for this particular game. During an offensive play early in the game, Jacob rushed forward in an attempt to volley the ball. It ricocheted off of his foot and into the air. “It went off my foot weird… It flew into the air and I assumed it was out of bounds,” he said. The players all relaxed, but as Jacob turned away and walked to the other side of the field, he heard his name being called by his teammates. “One of my teammates said ‘Jacob, turn around it’s going in’… I turned around right as it was going into the goal.” When asked to describe what was going through his mind as he watched the ball fall majestically back to earth and above the outstretched hands of the goalie, he claimed his first and only thought was, “Wait… how did that even happen?”

Eastern went on to score seven more goals over the course of that game and mercied Greenville 8-0. The unprecedented spirit of the student section and strong win made the game special, however, this would not be the last time people would hear of Jacob’s goal. 

Neil Jacobson (‘21), another athlete on the boys soccer team, used the hashtag #scnottopten on twitter in hopes of getting ESPN to notice the unique play. Recently, the clip was chosen by ESPN to be featured on The Highly Questionable Show.

The Highly Questionable Show is hosted by Dan Le Batard and his father Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard on ESPN. This lighthearted, daily program features different sports talk topics. Jacob’s goal was featured under the “Do You Question” segment of the show, in which clips of topics and events are shown, and the hosts “question ’em.” In the segment, the hosts watched Jacob’s goal and determined that it had to have been a lucky (yet impressive) shot, while remarking about the sad state of affairs for the goalie on the opposing team. When asked if he agreed with the final verdict of the hosts, Jacob said, “I think that it was definitely all luck, but I’d like to believe it was skill!”

Jacob has high hopes for the remainder of the soccer season. “It’s going well; we have a lot of injuries right now, and we’ve had a couple tough games, but we recently tied the top team in the conference… Our team chemistry is really good.” As districts approach in October, Jacob says that he and the team hope to see a large student section coming out to support. He claims the energy from large student section does not go unnoticed by the team, and that it truly does have a positive impact. Their next home game is this Thursday at 6:45 against Wayland.

Watch the clip of the goal here