Dominik Jakubek is one of the originals from Sacramento Republic FC, a journeyman goalkeeper who was a wizened veteran and a localish guy, too.
The goalkeeper grew up in Northern Calfornia, and bounced around local colleges, eventually settling at Chico State, where he played alongside Chris Wondolowski, and took the Wildcats to the NCAA Division II title game in 2003.
Jakubek had the kind of journeyman career after college that was all-too-common in American soccer just a couple decades back. He got started in indoor soccer at the pro level, before being signed as an emergency backup with the Columbus Crew in 2006. He didn’t get to play in a competitive game for the Crew, and stayed around the game at the USL level off and on for several years, playing for the defunct California Victory and rostered with the LA Blues (now Orange County SC).
In 2014, Jakubek was a veteran, already in his mid-30s, when Sacramento Republic signed him. But he played a key role that season, splitting time with Portland Timbers loanee Jake Gleeson in goal, and winning over SRFC fans in a hurry. That league title come season’s end didn’t hurt, either.
2015 wasn’t quite as active a season for Jakubek, however, as Patrick McLain took the lion’s share of the GK minutes, with Jakubek making just four appearances. He did allow just one goal in those four games, however.
The following season he was back on a timeshare, this time with Evan Newton, before Newton grabbed more playing time in 2017 and Jakubek played in nine games.
Jakubek’s stats are generally quite good with Sacramento Republic. He allowed 1.01 goals per 90 minutes and his save percentage in his first two seasons with Sac Republic were 71.1 percent and 91.7 percent, although that save percentage dipped in the subsequent two seasons.
After the 2017 season, Jakubek was out of contract and not re-signed. He didn’t stop playing, however, as he signed with NPSL club East Bay Stompers in 2018 and kept plugging along.
And from there came perhaps the biggest surprise of all. Last year, he was signed by Reno 1868 FC, at the age of 39. He signed on to play for the rivals because he was looking to stay in the game in a dual player/coach role, and you can’t really fault him for that.
“I don’t know if I’m ever going to get a game, but I’m turning 40 this year, my drive’s not to be the starting keeper in Reno, I’m just there to be a good leader, good guy in the locker room, I have some championship rings so maybe that experience will help,” Jakubek said in an article on the NPSL’s website last year. “But honestly if I keep training for two or three months maybe I will really catch my form and I will have to push these guys…I know I’m working towards becoming a high-level goalie coach but I’m not counting out being a starter one day, and if they put me into a game, I’m going to be ecstatic.”
In the end, Jakubek wasn’t able to get on the field for Reno last year and he appears not to have signed with the club ahead of the current, postponed season. Is his playing career done at the age of 40?
In many respects he clawed and kicked to get every shot he got, and his four seasons with Sac Republic were the apex. His 43 appearances are second all-time for goalkeepers at SRFC behind only Josh Cohen, and he was a contributor on the 2014 USL Championship team. For a guy who seemed like his career may only last a year or two when he signed with Republic FC as an expansion team, he showed that you can’t count out the veteran goalkeeper even at an advanced age.
He also had an everyman quality to go with the obvious work ethic to play and coach at a high level. Here’s a quick interview I found on the field after the title game in 2014, with Jakubek remembering the Chico State crew as he’s hoisting the stand that held the trophy (WARNING: There’s a swear word in this interview).
Jakubek was living the dream, and maybe still is. I expect he’ll continue to coach, and we’ll see where life takes him from here, including after the coronavirus pandemic ends.
But he’s an indelible part of Sacramento Republic’s history and helped set the foundation for the club. And for that, it’s fun to take a look back at the run of one Dominik Jakubek with Republic FC.
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