Marquette Wire

Jason Davis makes transition to American soccer

Jason+Davis+scored+his+first+career+goal+against+Providence+on+Saturday+in+the+64th+minute+to+tie+the+game+for+Marquette.+The+match+ended+in+a+2-2+draw.
Jason Davis scored his first career goal against Providence on Saturday in the 64th minute to tie the game for Marquette. The match ended in a 2-2 draw.

Jason Davis scored his first career goal against Providence on Saturday in the 64th minute to tie the game for Marquette. The match ended in a 2-2 draw.

Photo by Helen Dudley

Photo by Helen Dudley

Jason Davis scored his first career goal against Providence on Saturday in the 64th minute to tie the game for Marquette. The match ended in a 2-2 draw.

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For graduate student and men’s soccer forward Jason Davis to step foot on Marquette’s campus, everything had to go right in his native United Kingdom while he was applying for a student visa.

Davis, a Birmingham native, left his house at 5 a.m., caught the train to London’s Euston Station and took the tube line to Victoria Station, where he walked the few blocks to United Kingdom’s Visa and Immigration department. He lined up 90 minutes before his appointment just to ensure he’d be one of the lucky few to be seen that day. If one form was missing or had even a small clerical error, Davis wouldn’t be on the Marquette soccer team.

“There were so many things that could have gone wrong on that day, but thankfully, my family and I had it in order, and it went through,” Davis said. “If the visa wasn’t processed in three to five days, I wasn’t going, plain and simple.”

Head coach Louis Bennett and his staff are thankful everything went through smoothly. After all, it’s not every day, let alone in mid-July, that the program secures a commitment from a 6-foot-5 forward with maturity, blistering pace and remarkable strength.

“I don’t think there’s anyone built like him in our league, so he gives you that ‘what if’ factor,” Bennett said. “He gives teams an accountability factor that they always have to mark him because he attracts so much attention.”

Nathan DeSutter

Davis almost expects the attention to be on him. In his four appearances with the Golden Eagles, Davis has yet to get on the score sheet and has registered four shots, but is always a threat when on the pitch. Davis will go up for a header and get an elbow in the back, a kick in the shin or his toes stepped on in the box. Bennett calls these players the “dark hearts of soccer.”

Despite these disruptive defenders throughout his career, Davis still attracted plenty of clubs and colleges back in England. He spent his undergraduate years at Loughborough University in England as a forward. Before that, Davis took a 90-minute commute every day to train in near-professional conditions with second-tier side Burton Albion in the English Championship.

Adjusting to American soccer philosophies and colloquialisms came with its challenges for Davis. While the language of soccer is universal, the meanings and drills can vary from country to country. Davis gave an analogy that pointed out the difference between English and American soccer culture.

“It looks like an orange, but when you cut it open, it’s a grapefruit and it’s not quite the same,” Davis said. “Coach (Bennett) will tell me to do something, and I think ‘x means x,’ because I’ve been doing it for 12 plus years, but he says ‘no, here it means this.’ There are certain similarities, but it’s not quite the same.”

Bennett understood what Davis was going through, because he went through it himself. “I came here from England to play, thinking we knew everything about the game because, after all, we invented it,” Bennett said. “I then realized how little I did know about the game, the real game, the world game. So for Jason, it was an adjustment as it was for me.”

Davis isn’t just a creative player on the pitch. He has an imagination off of it, as well. That skill helped him land a year-long internship at Puma, one of the biggest brands in the soccer apparel world. Davis worked on designing footwear and product development. The multicultural company culture gave him a different perspective on the soccer world.

“Obviously, soccer is a global game, but at Puma, there are so many global elements within the company alone,” Davis said. “Everyone spoke at least two languages, and it was a great experience.”

Despite being plagued with injuries earlier in the year, Davis has a positive view of his studies and soccer at Marquette.

“I’ve got an added avenue that I didn’t have before coming to Marquette,” Davis said. “The overall experience has been absolutely incredible, and I’ve got more than enough room to choose and figure out what I want to do next.”

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