Four years ago, Jake McCain played his first soccer game as a freshman Maverick. Now, a senior, he has since enjoyed a long journey with the University of Nebraska at Omaha soccer program. He has experienced win, loss, the opening of the UNO’s Caniglia Field and has watched the program itself grow over the years.
“The culture on the team has come to be more about the team than the individual,” McCain said. “And I think this is a great thing,compared to my freshman year when all the guys really weren’t all that close. We did our own thing back in that time, and it used to be cliquey. That’s no longer a problem on this team.”
McCain decided to play for UNO because it was close to home. Family has always been incredibly important to McCain and he wanted to be sure that he was close enough to have their support there with him at every game.
“I’m very close to my family and I love having them at my games. It means the world to me that they are able to make it,” McCain said. “It was a bonus that UNO has a great program and awesome soccer staff along with a great athletic department.”
It was family that attracted McCain to the game in the first place.
“I started playing soccer at probably around 5 years old,” McCain said. “I started playing because both of my parents played through college, so it was kind of in the family.”
Of course, great soccer skills are not the only things that McCain credits his family for giving him. McCain looks up to his father, Chad McCain, for many other areas of his life, and said his father is his personal hero.
McCain said: “[My father] is the hardest working guy that I know, and he has worked for everything that he has accomplished. He has brought me up to [be] the man I am off the field, which has reflected to my performance and attitude on the field. He pushed me in all aspects of my life to be the best me. He has been my councelor, life coach and mentor since the day I could remember.”
McCain said he hopes that one day he can be half of the man that his father is.
This is McCain’s last year playing for UNO before graduating in spring. Over the years, the program has helped to shape McCain into a better player and person, and has left him with a plethora of memories and friendships in the process.
“The best part is definitely the people that you meet. I have met people from all over the world, rich and poor, and any color of skin,” McCain said. “Being a part of the team is also great; it automatically gives me 24 friends who I look at as brothers. The athletic department also does a great job of helping us succeed and holding us accountable for our actions and grades, and I think this is rewarding.”
McCain is not ready to quit the game just yet. After graduation, McCain hopes to find somewhere else to play the game he loves so much.
“If that doesn’t come about, I would stay in school, work full time somewhere, and get an MBA,” McCain said. “I have been in school for so long, what’s another 2 or 3 years? I enjoy learning, so why not?”
McCain said he will miss many things about being a part of the program, such as the games, the team, all of the fans and most of all, will miss being a UNO athlete and part of such a great program.