York boys soccer goalkeeper Jacob Reimers defies convention to win honor

Marty O'Brien
Contact Reportermobrien@dailypress.com
Reimers had 11 shutouts in goal as York surprises with 14 victories

It's rare for a goalkeeper to win Daily Press All-Stars boys soccer Player of the Year honors. Then again, York senior Jacob Reimers isn't your average high school goalkeeper.

Jamestown coach Bobby O'Brien, whose high-scoring forward was the Daily Press' top player two years ago, said flatly that Reimers is the best high school player around. Lafayette coach Brian Sorrell, whose forward Reeves Trott was the DP Player of the Year last season, puts Reimers in a category by himself.

"His soccer intelligence is beyond any high school player," said Sorrell, whose Rams were shut out by Reimers and the Falcons. "He knows the game so well and he plays it fearlessly.

"He knows exactly when to come off of his line, and his size (6-foot-3) can be intimidating to people shooting on net."

Throw in Reimers' passion for the game and you've got the full package.

"I love the game second only to my family," said Reimers, who will play for Division I Longwood University in the fall. "I practice six days a week."

Reimers was a huge reason the Falcons won 14 games in what was considered a massive rebuilding year and came within one victory of reaching the 3A state tournament. The Falcons were tied with eventual state champion Riverside until the final minutes of a regional semifinal before falling 2-0.

"I was surprised we did so well," Reimers said of the Falcons. "Halfway through the season, the young guys stepped up."

Reimers' leadership and soccer smarts helped with that process. Like most great goalies, Reimers is not shy to communicate with his defense, which combined with him on 11 shutouts.

"Stopping shots is one of the easiest things to do," Reimers said. "The biggest thing, when you're playing the good teams like Grafton, Tabb, Jamestown, Lafayette and Smithfield, is to learn the players, see the whole field and organize the defense.

"You really don't want to have to do anything in goal."

But inevitably a goalie is going to be tested against the best of attacks. The best in the Bay Rivers District was Jamestown, and when Reimers had to act, he did so in memorable fashion.

Early in their meeting, Jamestown attacked the Falcons' goal in waves. Within seconds, Reimers produced a reaction save of Ethan McGee's diving header and a sliding save on John Henry's breakaway.

"That restored some balance to the game and gave us some confidence, then we went on attack," Reimers said.

York went on to win 1-0, with defenders Austin Huls, Alasdair Thomson, Alec Jackson and Nick Jagt all displaying their growth in front of Reimers.

"Jamestown is the team everyone wants to beat," Reimers said. "That's one of the best feelings I've ever had in soccer."

ALL-STAR SELECTIONS

Michael Meese | Jamestown | freshman. Meese's varsity debut at forward is no doubt the start of something big, as he scored 29 goals, had 12 assists and made the 4A all-state first team.

Solvi Bjornsson | Walsingham Academy | senior. Bjornsson, an exchange student from Iceland, led all area players with 54 goals in earning VISAA Division II Player of the Year honors and guiding WA to the fall 2016 state semifinals.

Sterling Ransone | Mathews | senior. He led the Blue Devils to a 15-4 record and to within a goal of the state tournament on his way to 1A all-state first-team honors.

Connor Norris | Walsingham Academy | senior. Controlling the defense from his center-back position, Norris was a first-team All-TCIS and VISAA Division II all-state pick.

Kevin Tripp | Jamestown | senior. As good a midfielder as any in the area, Tripp scored 26 goals, had 10 assists, led Jamestown to within a penalty-kick shootout of the state tournament and made 4A all-state.

Davis Pillow | Smithfield | senior. The Packers' midfield anchor earned 4A all-state honors in leading them to within a goal of a state semifinal appearance.

Andrew Lenfant | Tabb | junior. One of the most productive players in a high-scoring attack, Lenfant had 12 goals and five assists on his way to 3A all-state honors.

Josh Everard | Tabb | senior. Bound for Mary Washington, the midfielder was solid in attack and defense and earned 3A all-state recognition.

Nate Jacobson | Tabb | senior. With a team-leading 14 assists, all-state pick Jacobson was as responsible as anyone for double-digit goal numbers for several teammates.

Ben Barton | Tabb | senior. A standout marker capable of moving into attack, he made the all-state team for the 3A semifinalists.

Luke Messick | Kecoughtan | senior. A goalkeeper who built a reputation for making daring plays without breaking a sweat, Messick helped lead the Warriors to the 5A South regional tournament and earned a Group 5A second-team all-state selection.

Harry Conley | Kecoughtan | senior. Conley served as co-captain for the Warriors alongside Messick. The midfielder contributed six goals and three assists and was named the PenSouth Conference 10 Player of the Year.

Lamar Lovelace | Menchville | junior. Lovelace led the Monarchs with nine goals and six assists.

Cameron Dunbar | York | sophomore. The 3A all-state pick grew much as a leader, verbally and in igniting the attack, while adding the tangible contributions of eight goals and 10 assists.

Paul Mahaffy | York | junior. His team-leading 15 goals put him on the 3A all-state team and led York to within a victory of the state tournament.

Alasdair Thomson | York | junior. Leading the defense in front of Reimers earned him a spot on the 3A all-state team.

Elton Skinner | Smithfield | senior. Was a leader on the defense for a Smithfield team that finished in the three-way tie for the Bay Rivers District title with Tabb and Jamestown.

Chuckie Tenbusch | Bruton | senior. A star of a fine two-year run for the Panthers, Tenbusch had 17 goals, including five game-winners, repeated on the 2A all-state team and will play in the VHSCA All-Star Game.

Justin Wilson | Lafayette | senior. A defensive ace as the Rams posted an impressive record the four seasons, Wilson capped his career as a 3A all-state first-team pick.

— Marty O'Brien and Kate Yanchulis

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