Former rec player tallies first collegiate assist
He’s come a long way from the Jamestown recreational soccer team to playing in the college ranks: Trevor Bobola has worked his way up from playing youth soccer into a key role with the Hamilton College men’s team. Bobola, 19, is one of the reasons the Continentals are going to the playoffs, according to his coach, Perry Nizzi.
“Trevor has come on very, very strong for us in the middle of the season,” Nizzi said. “He got his chance to shine and made the most of it.”
When injuries knocked several starters out of Hamilton’s lineup, Bobola was up to the challenge. “He’s been getting more playing time and doing an outstanding job,” Nizzi said. Partly due to his efforts coming into the game, the Continentals have qualifi ed for a playoff berth.
Nizzi said he’s been a big part of that. Bobola is the fi rst player being sent into the game off the bench, and he’s going into the match, creating plays and opportunities.
“He’s pretty much our star coming off bench,” Nizzi said. “I’m happy he chose Hamilton College, and we’re looking forward to the rest of his career here. He should be a very strong player.” Bobola, who plays wide midfi eld, collected his first assist as a collegiate player on Sept. 29 in the season’s first league game against Bates College. The Continentals won 3-1.
“Hamilton scored its first goal after a near miss by Ralph Jerome, whose header was punched out of bounds,” said Greg Szklany, the school’s assistant sports information director. “On the ensuing corner kick, Leo Nizzi crossed the ball into the box where Bobola headed to Bayard Geeslin.” Geeslin connected on his first collegiate goal thanks to Bobola’s first collegiate assist.
Teammate Leo Nizzi had two assists in that match, bringing his career total to 13 and moving into a tie for second place on the school’s all-time assist list.
Bobola, a sophomore, said the coaches have noticed him this year and given him more playing time. “I have defi nitely been playing the best soccer so far of my college career,” he said. “I have been put into more and more crucial situations, not only to relieve others that are tired, but also to bring a little fi re to the match and bring up the intensity of the game.”
Bobola said he played on the men’s soccer team last year and he wanted more playing time this season.
“I really didn’t have any clear set goal for this season,” he said. “I only really wanted to get more time on the fi eld and provide more for the team in crucial situations in the game.”
Bobola said the Continentals lost a lot of players from last year’s team due to graduation, so he had expected to have some opportunities to show he could help the team.
“The biggest goal that I was able to accomplish this season was proving to my coaches that I am more than ready to play at the competitive level of college soccer,” he said.
According to Bobola, it is a different game than the high school game. He explained that the main different is that college players are more athletic.
“Everyone is going to be either as fast or strong as you are, or faster and stronger than you are,” said Bobola, who stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 165 pounds. “To be able to play at this level, you have to be mentally faster and know what you are going to do with the ball before you even get it.”
Bobola said he started playing soccer for the town when he was 6 or 7. He has lived most of his life in Jamestown, except for three years when his father was working in Copenhagen and took the family to Europe.
He is the son of Steven and Sara Bobola of West Reach Drive. Bobola also played baseball at Lawn Avenue School and attended North Kingstown High for one year before transferring to Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va.
He played soccer his one year with the Skippers and also ran indoor and outdoor track to stay in shape for soccer. He decided on Hamilton because he was looking for a liberal arts college where he could explore different fields before committing to a major. After visiting the campus, “It felt right,” he said. His older brother, Calvert, also attends Hamilton and will graduate in 2014.
Bobola said he is studying economics. He says he will become an economics major, but is thinking about studying government, too. Sometimes the double major of economics and government is called a public policy major.
The Continentals have one more conference game – against Tufts on Oct. 20 – and then go into the postseason tournament. Hamilton College (4-6-2, 2-5-2) is a Division- III team and playing in the premier league.
Two years ago, the school joined the New England Small College Athletic Conference, and this will be the school’s fi rst postseason appearance with the new league. Previously, the Continentals played in the Liberty League. “We were always one of the elite teams,” he said.
The decision to join the new league was due to the decision that the small colleges should play in the same conference. The switch to the new conference has been challenging.
Hamilton didn’t make the playoffs last year. Nizzi said the team took time adjusting to nine new teams. “We knew nothing really about them,” he said.