He’s got his passport ready to go and he’s one step closer to realizing a dream – fulfilling a goal to become a professional athlete
Bellevue High School senior Jacob Bakey is headed to England this fall to play football (Well, it’s actually called soccer here in the United States) after graduation next month.
Jacob, the son of Deb and the late Gary Bakey, is currently a goalkeeper for the Marquette Catholic Soccer Team and this season alone, has not only broken the school record for most saves in a game at 29 (the old record was 25), but he also currently holds the state record with 126 saves in 9 games.
Bakey has been accepted to the Professional Football Academy in England, and will be attending the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, England this September.
His skills in soccer have afforded him the opportunity for scholarships, as well as a chance at fulfilling his goal of being a professional soccer player.
“I’ll be playing for the Macclesfield Football Club, which is like a semi-pro team, but they have a lot of scouts from the professional clubs that come to the games, so I hope I have the opportunity to do well and advance,” said Bakey. “It’s my dream to play professionally.”
The chance to go to school and play soccer in England came when Bakey was researching colleges that had soccer programs.
“I received a promotional flyer out of the blue one day from Central Lancashire in England. I applied and was accepted,” said Bakey. “That was last fall, and I’ve been looking forward to it since.”
Jacob said even though he is leaving the country, his mother Deb has been extremely supportive of his plans.
“Personally, I can't even imagine leaving home for the first time and preparing to go off to college in another country,” said Deb. “But he handles everything with such confidence because he knows this is what he has to do to make his dream come true.”
Bakey has been playing soccer in Bellevue since he was a kindergartner. His current coach at Marquette is Gary Penniston, who also coaches a strong youth soccer program in Bellevue.
“"Jacob is a superb goalkeeper. He has great instincts about when to dive and when to stand tall - also when to stay on the goal line and when to run out at an opponent,” said Penniston. “When he does make a mistake, it's usually a matter of pushing the limits of how aggressive to be off the goal line. As a coach, I admire a goalkeeper who is willing to take those risks on behalf of his teammates. It is truly a selfless position, and Jacob is a ‘team-first’ athlete.”
Penniston added that the team had young defense this year. He said most games he started three freshmen and two sophomores in front of Jacob.
“His mentoring skills and ability to effectively communicate in-game instructions are a big part of why our defense has improved throughout the course of the season,” said Penniston. “Additionally, our backup goalkeeper is a freshman, and Jacob has gone out of his way to work with him, which will likely pay dividends for the team after Jacob has graduated and moved on.”
“I am very proud to have coached Jacob. When he was a sophomore, he played significant time as a defender on the field, even though his personal goal was to be the starting goalkeeper,” Penniston said. “He learned a lot that season playing outside of the goal, and I learned a lot about his character as he turned himself into a darn good defensive player."
While at the University of Central Lancashire, Bakey plans to major in sports management. He is looking forward to making the journey.
“I’m excited because it’s a new level of competition, and I will meet people and players from all over the world,” said Bakey. “There are also a lot of players from the United States. I’m looking forward to the experience and the opportunity to achieve my goals.”