Men's Soccer: Jason Garey
Posted: Tuesday December 13, 2005 1:28PM; Updated: Tuesday December 13, 2005 3:32PM
In the climatic moment of the 1987 movie Hotshot, in which Pelé stars as a former soccer star turned recluse, Jimmy (Pelé's protégé) successfully nails a bicycle kick. The action slows, the music builds, Pele watches from the side, and then bam ... Jimmy nails it.
So maybe Jason Garey's bicycle kick against Indiana in October wasn't an exact replica of the one in the movie, but it was pretty awesome nonetheless and a fitting moment for Maryland's most prolific goal-scorer. Every young soccer player practices the move in their backyard, but they rarely have the skill to pull off the maneuver, much less the opportunity. But after receiving a cross from the right side, the ball hit a bump on the field and popped up. In that moment, Garey's instinct kicked in, "I wasn't trying to do a bicycle kick, it was just the best way to make a play on the ball," said Garey, who beat a stunned Indiana goalie. "I didn't even realize I had done it until after."
It's easy to assume that Garey is just being modest when you look at the fifth-year senior's resume. He set Maryland records for career goals (58), points (136) and became the first Terp to have two 20-goal seasons. He was named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year, a Hermann Trophy finalist (soccer's Heisman and a first-team All-America. Not bad for a kid from the deep South who listens to George Strait and scoffs at the pop-sounds of country's current stars.
While the bicycle kick was certainly one of the defining moments of this Lousiana boy's year, the real highlight was leading Maryland to its first men's soccer national championship last Sunday. As the seconds ticked down and the ref blew the final whistle, Garey was overwhelmed by relief and excitement as the Terps won the title with a 1-0 win over New Mexico.
Garey's first three years at Maryland all ended the same way as the Terps fell in the national semifinals. In '02, Maryland lost to UCLA, 2-1; the following year it was a 1-0 loss to St. John's; and last year it was an emotional 3-2 overtime defeat to Indiana. So, did Garey and his teammates have a 'bridesmaid" complex when they reached the national semifinal again this season?
If they did it didn't show, and not surprisingly it was Garey that powered them through their showdown against SMU in the semis at Indiana State. Held scoreless for the first five rounds of the NCAA tournament, Garey knew he had to make an impact.
"To be the player I want to be I feel I have to score in every game we play," said Garey, "so I was pretty frustrated during the tournament. Leading up to the tournament I had scored in 13 or 14 straight games, but I (was slowed with a) hip flexor."