Fellowship Graduate Jake Williamson Ends Storied Soccer Career at Berry College
It's hard to imagine Jake Williamson not pushing the ball towards his opponent's goal, running down the soccer field or drilling the ball into the back of the net.
After four years as a star player at Berry College, four more as a leader of the Fellowship Christian School varsity squad that came close to a state championship and being a member of countless other middle school and club soccer teams, Williamson has graduated from college and will step aside from competitive soccer.
Williamson closed out his Viking career on a very strong note this past fall with career highs in games (19), starts (19) goals (18), points (40), shots (86) and shots on goal (41). He was selected as Team Captain, named the Vikings' Most Valuable Player in 2019, and ends his playing career as Berry's all-time soccer leader in goals, assists and points.
He led a young Berry team to a 9-8-2 overall record, including a 2-4-1 Southern Athletic Association mark, and a trip to the SAA semifinals (a tough 2-1 loss to Oglethorpe on Nov. 8, 2019).
"Obviously it's sad," Williamson said when reflecting about the end of his college soccer career. "I guess that last loss was bittersweet. But I felt like the team and I went out on a good note. We reached the conference semifinals. I was one of only two seniors and six upperclassmen. So it was really rewarding being a captain and a vocal leader on and off the field. This year was very special."
Williamson received some key post-season awards this fall. He was named Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Conference Offensive Player of the Year and received Berry College's Male Athlete of the Year Award. Williamson was also named to the United Soccer Coaches All-South Atlanta Region second-team.
"It was a pretty great accomplishment," Williamson said about being named male athlete of the year. "It was a great way to end my career. It makes me even more appreciative of my time at Berry and my soccer career there. [The Offensive Player of the Year award] was also a pretty big honor. There are a lot of really talented players in our conference. Being on the All-South team was great too. The Lord has blessed me. It was a small school, which helped me build relationships."
During his Berry career, Williamson was named SAA First-Team All Conference (2017, 2018, 2019), and played for the SAA D3 USA National Team that competed in Brazil the summer 2018. During his career, Williamson was selected as SAA Offensive Player of the Week twice (September 2017, October 2019).
Overall, Berry finished with a 37-30-5 (11-13-4 in the SAA) during Williamson's career at the north Georgia school. He finished with 67 games played, 56 starts, 41 goals, 18 assists, 100 points, 240 shots and 118 shots on goal. He also netted 12 game-winning tallies, including a career-best five as a senior.
During Williamson's junior year, the Berry squad went 10-5-2, including a 3-2-2-conference mark. The club went 8-8-1 overall and 3-3-1 in Southern Athletic Association contests in 2017, and was 10-9 overall and 3-4 in SAA games in 2016.
"Our best season was my junior year," he said. "We graduated 10 or 11 seniors. That's why this year was tough. We were challenged to replace a lot of talented players. We did very well though, finishing over .500 and playing a lot of close games."
The future is bright for the Vikings.
"I think they'll be really, really good in a couple of years," Williamson said. "I think those young guys really grew this season. As they improve the team will just get better and better."
What advice does Williamson have for 2020 Fellowship graduates heading to college sports?
"You need to put in the effort to get to know your teammates," Williamson said. "I have made so many friends. Those are the guys who will be in my wedding [Williamson is engaged to Emma James]. You'll see them the most. You'll also need to put in the hard work outside of the season to be successful. That work and training will pay off."
Williamson, who earned a visual communications degree at Berry, is networking and looking for a position in the video marketing world.
(Photos courtesy of Berry College and Jake Williamson)