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May 11, 2023
At just three years old, Jack Kaplan put on his very first pair of soccer cleats. Now, 15 years later, Kaplan prepares to continue his athletic endeavors at Oberlin College, a private liberal arts institution in Oberlin, Ohio.
Considerable exposure to the sport—one that is naturally competitive—has ushered in periods of physical and mental exhaustion. However, Kaplan affirmed that soccer has offered a support system that makes the grueling moments worth it.
“There have been a lot of ups and downs, but I’ve [always] been on teams where everyone is super close,” Kaplan said. “When I think back to my U8 Team Evanston team, I still talk to all of those guys. I think that says something about the sport.”
When identifying potential schools, Kaplan hoped to find a place that would fulfill his aspirations, both academically and athletically. While he received several Division III offers, Oberlin ultimately checked off all of Kaplan’s boxes.
Playing at the [collegiate] level was something that I always had in mind. It was a goal I was chasing.”
— Oberlin College commit Jack Kaplan
“When I [first] visited Oberlin’s campus, I fell in love with it,” Kaplan noted. “During my official visit, the players [and coaches] really immersed me with the team and the culture. It felt like a family.”
With a total undergraduate enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, Oberlin offers an intimate experience for its students. Kaplan was immediately drawn to a smaller setting as they often provide greater opportunities for interacting with professors and students.
“[Oberlin] is a smaller school, so it’s a really close-knit community,” Kaplan shared. “I’m looking forward to having smaller classes and getting one-on-one time with professors.”
Because men’s soccer at Oberlin is regarded as a fall sport, Kaplan anticipates that juggling academic and athletic expectations may be demanding at first.
“I think that the transition might be hard [initially], balancing the workload and my commitment to the [team],” Kaplan said.
Kaplan grew up playing a wide range of sports; however, soccer offered something unique. Kaplan believes that his involvement—both on and off the field—has built character and empowered him to thrive in all aspects of his life. While he will miss being a part of the Evanston community, Kaplan is looking forward to his next four years at Oberlin and seeing his childhood dreams become a reality.
“Playing at the [collegiate] level was something that I always had in mind,” Kaplan shared. “It was a goal I was chasing.”