For Jimmy Nieman, Rochester junior, it was only a matter of time before he started scoring goals.
Nieman has netted five goals this season, including two game winners. He leads the Britons in scoring, and ranks second in the MIAA. Nieman’s strong performance earned him the distinction of MIAA Offensive Player of the Week during the final week of September.
Finally enjoying an injury-free season, his dedication at practice has allowed Nieman to emerge as Albion’s go-to-scorer. Jerry Block, head coach of the men’s soccer team, called Nieman a standout performer. Nieman’s teammates rave about his intensity on the field.
“He’s scored some big goals for us,” Block said. “His play has been consistent.”
“He’s that spark player for us,” Denny O’Dowd, Virginia Beach, Va. junior, said. “His intensity will really get us going.”
Avoiding injury this season has been a key to Nieman’s improved play.
“Jimmy missed half of each season the last few years,” Block said. “We are finally starting to see what he can do now that he’s fully healthy.”
If you ask Nieman, his breakout season can be traced to his work at practice. In addition to classes, he spends two hours on the field each day plus time in film study. It’s a daunting challenge that Nieman tackles with a workmanlike approach.
“You’ve got to work harder and want it more,” Nieman said. “It’s nice to finally see the hard work pay off.”
Nieman has also benefitted from a change of position. After seeing the field as an outside midfielder during his first two seasons, Nieman moved to central midfield this year. This switch has allowed the playmaker to get more touches on the ball.
“He’s so versatile, he can adapt,” Block said.
The Britons have a 5-7-1 record this season. Their next game is versus Olivet College on Oct. 15. A victory against the Comets would give Albion its third conference win, eclipsing their win total from MIAA play last season.
Photo courtesy of Dave Trumpie