For NCAA athletes, it is a unique privilege to get the opportunity to compete at the college level. Freshman Jake Totty gets this privilege two times over. Not only is Totty a dual-sport athlete, but both of his sports take place during the fall season.
Totty plays on the men’s soccer team and the football team here at Knox. He began playing soccer when he was 3 years old, but didn’t play football until his senior year at Francis Howell High School in St. Louis. His football career began in a bizarre circumstance with his gym teacher at the time.
“It was two days before the high school team’s first game and they didn’t have a kicker and my gym teacher was the specialist coach,” Totty said. “He came up to me and asked if I’d ever kicked a football before and I said no. He took me out to the football field and had me try it out and I did really well. Two days later I was playing in the first game.”
Totty was originally recruited to play soccer by previous Knox head coach Tyler Sheikh. Once he found out Totty also played football, he reached out to the people who were able to make this dream a reality for Totty.
“Originally, they looked at the schedules that they had been given and they said I was going to be able to play in a lot of the games but it didn’t exactly work out too well this year,” Totty said.
Totty was originally under the impression that he would be able to participate in more football games. He was only able to play in two this season, and can no longer participate in either of his sports because of a bulging disk in his back. But originally, the plan was to put soccer first anyway.
“Soccer’s always been first,” Totty said. “That’s why I miss a lot of the football games but if there was a game I could make, I would go to 1-2 practices a week before that game. I was here the entire preseason.”
There were special accommodations that had to be made for Totty to play both sports, but he is unsure what those were and said the coaches took care of mostly everything. This season, Totty wasn’t able to fully participate in football but still had a great soccer season. Despite being on two sports teams in the same season, Totty said it wasn’t too hard to balance his schedule.
“With the way it worked out this year, it wasn’t too hard to balance,” Totty said. “But that’s just because I really only had time for soccer. If my back doesn’t hold me back from playing next year, hopefully the schedule lines up better and I can play in more football games.”
Totty has three goals and two assists this season, with a shots on goal percentage of .438. Totty has kicked a total of 176 yards on three kickoffs for the football team and hopes to increase his statistics on both teams next year.
The men’s soccer team kicks off the MWC Tournament this weekend vs. Cornell College Ñ hosted by St. Norbert Ñ on Nov. 2 at 1:30 p.m. If they are victorious, they will play in the championship match on Nov. 3. The football team will close their season on Nov. 3 at home at 1 p.m. They will play Monmouth College for senior day with a “purple out” theme.