Many students after high school choose the junior college route for different reasons: cost, academics or to improve and grow athletically.
For Jesse da Costa of the Jamestown Community College men’s soccer team, it was to grow athletically and help him achieve his dreams of playing at the NCAA Division I level.
“Coming over to the United States, my dad and I had the goal of playing JUCO and then moving on to Division I,” said da Costa, a native of Perth, Western Australia. “It was a goal and I am able to get that goal with my hard work and the guidance of Coach Pat Anderson.”
Da Costa arrived at Jamestown CC in the fall of the 2019 season and played an integral role and the team’s 12-win season, the most by the team since the 2013 season where they won 10 matches. The team also won its first NJCAA Region 3 tournament match against Erie CC 4-0, their first such win since the 2014 season when the Jayhawks defeated SUNY Delhi in a 2-0 contest.
During his freshman season, da Costa earned a second team all-Western New York Athletic Conference honors as they scored a total of 10 goals, including four goals in a match against Lorain County CC. Da Costa’s 10-goal season ranks him second in a season since 2012 when electronic stats were kept and his four goals in a game is the now by a Jayhawk.
“When Jesse arrived at Jamestown CC, he was disillusioned from some of his previous soccer experiences,” Anderson said. “When he discovered his hard work was valued here, he took the opportunity to improve in all aspects of his life. The reward for his diligence is another opportunity at a new level. ”
Da Costa’s sophomore season was put on hold during 2020 with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but they would be back on the pitch once again for the 2021 season and added a new wrinkle to his game. Da Costa became more of a facilitator during his sophomore season when he finished with nine assists on the season, which ranks him third since 2012. Da Costa had a strong performance once again against Lorain County CC, recording three assists – a career high.
Da Costa’s play was noticed throughout the conference and found himself on the First Team All-WNYAC team.
After his season ended, da Costa was on the trail continuing to get his name out there and provide his services. He has now found a home for the next two years at Eastern Illinois University.
Anderson knew that da Costa has the skills to compete at the highest collegiate level and his work ethic should help him fit in well at EIU.
“Jesse has been an excellent example of a student-athlete in terms of achieving his potential on the field and in the classroom,” Anderson said. “He has developed very good leadership skills to compete at the DI level and with his work ethic, they should fit in well.”
“The EIU was the best fit for me for multiple reasons,” da Costa said. “Athletically, it was a good step forward but academically it was the best path for me to transition into. Also the location was key for me. I didn’t want to be in some big city and the EIU is located in a similar-sized city as Jamestown. ”
The Panthers is located in Charleston, Illinois, and compete in The Summit League. The EIU will be graduating five players from last year’s team. Da Costa will be looked as a contributor right away with his experience playing at the collegiate level and his strong leadership.
“JCC has been tremendous for me as well as Coach Pat,” da Costa said. “Without Coach Pat and the people here at JCC, I couldn’t have got my goals. I will forever be grateful to everyone who has helped me get to this point in my life. ”
Da Costa is the second men’s soccer player that has moved on to the NCAA Division I ranks from the past two seasons. Former Jayhawk Jakob Moore went on to continue his academics and athletics at Dixie State University where he has been a two-year member of the Trailblazers.