Menace interns Tyler Peeler and Jeremy Reinert will bring you a player spotlight each week during the 2012 season; this week features Menace goalkeeper, Jhojan Obando.
Striving to reach the professional ranks, Jhojan Obando has returned to the Des Moines Menace after graduating from Providence College in the spring.
In January, Obando had the chance to take his first step in the right direction. Selected as one of four goalkeepers to participate in the Major League Soccer Player Combine, Obando thought highly of the experience.
“It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever been a part of,” said Obando. “It’s good to be around the best players in the country. It’s a good learning experience for the next stage of my life – the next level.”
Enjoying just a flavor of pro status, Obando was signed for a short term contract with the Orlando City Soccer Club. After his quick stint in USL-PRO, Obando returned to the Menace for the summer looking to continue to improve.
Fighting to earn the title of the Menace’s starting goalkeeper, Obando has appeared in four matches this season. Battling for playing time with Jonathan Viscosi, a senior-to-be at the University of Buffalo, Obando approaches the inner-squad competition with a positive attitude.
“Be the best I can be every single day,” said Obando. “Come in and work hard every single day.”
Born to tend the net, Obando has been blocking shots since he was eight years old. Standing 5-foot-10 inches tall, the goalkeeper didn’t take to the net because of his height. Acknowledging his drawbacks, Obando views his size as an advantage.
“It hurts me because at this day and age the game is physical. Crosses and traffic can be difficult to deal with,” said Obando. “But it also helps me because I’m more athletic and quick with my feet.”
While driven by the competition to improve and break in to the next level, Obando also has the team’s best interests in mind. Playing for a team that is in the fight for the second of two playoff spots, Obando shares the team’s dreams of reaching the post season.
“Hopefully we keep winning and make the playoffs,” said Obando. “We dug ourselves a hole, but we can still make a run at it – I know we can.”
Name: Jhojan Obando
Hometown: Kissimmee, Florida; born in Medellin, Colombia
College Experience: Providence College
Graduation Year/Degree: Health Policy and Management
Pre-Game Ritual: Tape ankles and wrists, listen to drake and kiss all three posts before the initial whistle