Former Cornwall College footballer excels at FGCU

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Former Cornwall College footballer excels at FGCU

BY PAUL A REID
Observer West writer
reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, May 21, 2020

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Former Cornwall College daCosta Cup striker Aiden Jokomba ended his first year at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) on a high, after scoring a 3.8 grade point average (GPA) while studying health science.

Jokomba said he was not surprised by his near perfect grades.

“I wasn't surprised about my GPA as I did the work that was needed,” the free-scoring Jokomba who was part of the Cornwall College team that won the daCosta Cup in 2016, and the team that became the first school outside of Kingston to win the ISSA Champions Cup two years later, told the Jamaica Observer West.

Balancing book work and playing football is nothing new for Jokomba who passed 10 subjects at the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) level, including English A and B, chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics and information technology, as well as seven Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) subjects.

He choose health science, he told the Observer West, “because I want to go to school afterwards for physical therapy.”

Despite helping Cornwall College to create history when the Montego Bay-based school won the ISSA Champions Cup at which time he was the joint top scorer — the season ended on a sour note after Cornwall College were beaten 1-2 in the daCosta Cup final by Clarendon College.

A badly injured ankle limited his contribution in the final, but Jokomba said he was more than prepared to make the next step to the college ranks, and chose FGCU “because of the plan they have for their soccer programme and also because of the different opportunities the college has to offer.”

At university, Jokomba got off to a slow start, missing the first three games after picking up an injury in the pre-season.

He noted that the season did not go as he had hoped, “with all the injuries causing me to miss games, but it was a learning experience”. “Although I had limited playing time I scored three goals, played the most minutes as a freshman on the team, only freshman to score on the team and scored 10 seconds in my first game,” he told the Observer West.

According to the school's website, Jokomba appeared in 12 matches making two starts, scoring three goals with one game-winner coming against Georgia Southern as he scored less than one minute as a substitute and logged 229 minutes.

FGCU was ranked as high as number 14 nationally early in the season and eventually lost in the final of the ASUN Conference to New Jersey Institute of Technology.

The transition to college in the United States and to training and playing under the NCAA rules was not easy for Jokomba, who was part of the last two Jamaican all- schools teams that took part in a year-end tournament in Lauder Hill, Florida.

“The transition from Jamaica to Florida was hard at first. Missing family and friends, trying to adopt to a new environment and adopting to playing conditions,” he pointed out.

“There is a difference between training at FGCU and Cornwall [College] as the NCAA doesn't allow more than two weeks of team pre-season, so therefore we have to train on our own for most of the summer, on the other hand there are more resources and training facilities at FGCU,” he argued.

With a full year under his belt, Jokomba is already looking forward to the next season which should commence in August.

“Next year I'm looking to staying injury-free and have an incredible season, helping my team to the NCAA tournament and also continue to do well in the classroom,” he stressed.


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