2018 NJCAA Football
Despite a disappointing overtime loss in the NJCAA Football Championship game last weekend, Jamaican national U20 player Tevin Rochester is taking comfort in what was an outstanding freshman season.
Rochester was 11 minutes away from being the hero for the Barton County Community College after putting them ahead in the 63rd-minute opener. However, an 80th-minute equalizer and a 106th-minute clincher in the second golden goal period gave top-ranked Pima Community College a 2-1 win and the NJCAA National Championship.
Delivering the Cougars first-ever soccer national championship would have been the perfect ending to what was an outstanding freshman season, where the former Jamaica College standout was one of the best midfielders in the NJCAA.
Despite missing the first four games of the season, Rochester helped the 2nd ranked Cougars to their highest ever placing and most victories in program history (21 wins, 2 losses and 2 draws) winning 17 in a row before losing the final game.
He scored 12 goals, including 4 game winners, and also bagged 3 assists for 23 points in 22 games (12 starts). So impressive was Rochester play that he was named to the NJCAA All-Tournament starting team at the end of the season.
He carried his good form into international play, scoring on debut in Jamaica’s 3-0 win over Nicaragua before notching a hat-trick in the 7-1 drubbing of Aruba four days later during the 2018 CONCACAF U-20 Championship.
Rochester credits his college experience for the performance during the championship where he finished as the joint leading goal scorer for the young Reggae Boyz with four goals in five games.
“Playing college ball has helped me a lot. My playing style has developed. I’m more aware on the pitch now. Here (USA) it is much faster, you have to play faster and do a lot a transition up and down the pitch,” Rochester said in an interview with Sports At Your Fingertips.
Rochester was one of two standouts from the prolific JC set up to take up scholarships to play college football in the US, the other being Maliek Howell (University of New Mexico).
Like Powell, Rochester is happy with the choice he made as he grows from what he describes as a “once in lifetime opportunity.”
“It has been a great experience so far playing with and against players from all over the country (USA). It also helps me to connect with other players from all over the world,” he said.