Nick Jeffs: Former Louisville Cardinal Soccer Goalie Thriving at Carleton

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Jeffs prior to a game vs Western Mustangs – Photo by Tim Austen

Nick Jeffs was attracted to the goaltender position as a kid. Now, many years later, he has stuck through the thick and thin of it, and has loved it ever since.

“I think that as a goalkeeper you have the biggest impact on the game. At the end of the day, if you never get scored on, you’re not going to lose, so, I think that I liked the pressure that came along with it, and that’s why I stayed in it,” Nick Jeffs said about his start in goaltending.

Jeffs began his soccer career where any young child begins. In house league, playing on a team that his father helped coach.

“I picked soccer to play competitively all year round and I think it has paid off for sure so I don’t really regret it. But I’ve always enjoyed watching it because I grew up with my dad, since he played it,” Jeffs said.

Jeffs is currently the starting goaltender for the Carleton Ravens men’s soccer team.

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Jeffs prepping for game against Nipissing Lakers – Photo by Tim Austen 

Before joining the Ravens, Jeffs played four years in the Ottawa Fury Youth Academy System in which he ended up winning multiple division titles.  He then went on to play for the Team Ontario U16 team.

Following his stint with Team Ontario, Jeffs got recruited by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I University of Louisville Cardinals men’s soccer program.

““Fortunately, I ended up going to a very successful program, a highly ranked program, we were top 10 for most of the time I was there and that kind of just fell in to place when they saw me playing, so a lot of luck went into it,” Jeffs said about ending up at Louisville.

From his time on the Cardinals, Jeffs recorded three wins, three losses, and one tie in his seven games played, including a shutout victory against rival University of Kentucky Wildcats.

After spending time with the Cardinals for the better part of three years, Jeffs joined the Ravens for the start of the 2017-18 season, coming in with the likes of Stefan Karajovanovic, Gabriel Bitar, Scott Mazzotta, and Dario Conte.

“Eight of our eleven players that year were new to the team, so, when I heard the direction the team was going in, I really wanted to give it a shot, see If I wanted to keep playing,” Jeffs said.

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Jeffs in action during a save – Photo by Valerie Wutti/Blitzen Photography 

Since joining the Ravens, Jeffs has recorded eighteen wins, three losses, four ties, and has posted eleven shutouts in twenty-six games played, while also taking a degree in Commerce.

Similar to many competitive athletes, Jeffs has faced adversities and challenges on his way to becoming the player he is today.

Jeffs and the Ravens lost to the York University Lions in the Consolation 5th place game by a score of 2-1 in the 2017 Nationals.

“And then even from last year, not this past Nationals but the one before, that was probably one of my worst games I’ve ever played. So, to just end your team’s season, its kind of tough to come back from that mentally,” Jeffs said.

“And even when we stepped on the field at Nationals, it was in the back of my mind where I didn’t want it to happen again on the big stage, so, all that kind of floats through. But when that whistle goes, you kind of just have to drown out all the outside noise and focus on what happens next. You can’t keep dwelling on the past,” Jeffs added.

Amidst the challenges he has faced, Jeffs has also noticed how his growth and development has helped him become a leader on the Ravens.

“I think the biggest thing has been the leadership role. Because I’d always been the youngest on my team when I was growing up, I was playing up a year and stuff like that, so, its always tough to get your voice in,” Jeffs said.

“But I think, now, at Carleton, I’m one of the older guys, and so, I think just knowing what I would have liked the older guys to do with me, and even what some of the guys did, with helping me along, getting me climatized to the new level, I think I’ve gotten a lot better at doing that as a leader. And from this year to last year I think I’ve grown a lot, especially with the role I have on this team,” Jeffs added.

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Jeffs passing the ball to teammates after a save – Photo by Valerie Wutti/Blitzen Photography

While a part of the Ravens, Jeffs has helped the team accomplish many goals, such as clinching Nationals for the first time in 2011, helping them to the OUA Final Four for two years in a row, and backing their run to the Bronze medal at the 2018-19 Nationals.

Jeffs has credited his team’s victory over the University of British Columbia (UBC) Thunderbirds at Nationals as one of his most memorable moments so far.

“They were a big favourite, they had a very good team, some could even argue they were the strongest team there, and I think the fact that we ended their season, we ended their party, they’re at home, you got one of the favourites just because of that, because of their talent level,” Jeffs said.

“There was a decent crowd for Usports, and I think at the end of the game, the silence was good. I was just happy to be on the winning end of that, cause you never want to lose at home like we had, we lost at home to York for a shot at gold, and so, we kind of all had that in the back of our mind and we didn’t want to feel that again, so I was happy to be on the other side of that,” Jeffs remarked.

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Jeffs seen during game vs Nipissing Lakers – Photo by Tim Austen 

Jeffs, along with the rest of the team, will be looking to improve going into next year’s Nationals.

“Every year you can take positives and negatives from yourself as a performer, but I think you can never get complacent. I can never be happy with my play, because at the end of the day, National Semi-final, we gave up five goals. That’s tough on the resume, so, it means I didn’t do my job to the best of my abilities, so I’ve got to go back to work,” Jeffs said.

“I’m very particular, game day is the same routine, I find something and I stick with it, so I’m very particular like that and you can always improve. If you’re not winning at all, you can always improve,” Jeffs added.

As for once he graduates, Jeffs is keeping open minded about the options he has for when the time is right.

“But right now I want to do everything I can to keep both doors open, doing well in school so I can get a job when that time comes, and doing well in soccer so teams can come calling if that’s the route I want to take,” Jeffs said.

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Jeffs being named to the 1st Team All-Stars – Photo by Valerie Wutti/ Blitzen Photography 

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