Oluwatimileyin Talabi’s dream came true this past week.
After coming up short of a district championship the past three years, the Jay senior and his teammates experienced the thrill of being the top team in 28-6A after registering a 2-1 (4-2) win over Marshall.
It went down to the final match of the regular season as the Mustangs and Rams were tied for the top spot. However, it took a little longer for Jay to reach that championship pinnacle as a scoreless tie during regulation sent the match into overtime. After both teams exchanged goals in the two OT periods, penalty kicks became the determining factor.
This time, Jay prevailed and Talabi relished the moment.
“It feels amazing,” said Talabi, known as Timmy to his teammates. “It’s been a lifelong dream. I have wanted this since my freshman year. We have a lot of passion on this team. We’re a family. We have worked hard for this.”
Talabi has been a major force for the Mustangs since arriving as a freshman. The Incarnate Word signee started out as a defender and fared well. During his sophomore season, he even contributed to the scoring with eight goals and an assist.
A year ago, Jay coach David Johnson decided to get him more involved in the scoring. Talabi responded by kicking in 10 goals and delivering 12 assists.
That has blended well with a scoring attack that also features Ulisses Pinon, Jose Reyes, Israel Hernandez-Rangel and Jonathan Gonzales.
Talabi was a major contributor in the district-clinching win over Marshall.
After the Rams scored late goal in the second overtime to send the match into penalty kicks, Talabi got the Mustangs off to a 1-0 start with his kick into the net.
Goals followed from Aldo Palacios, Gonzales and Roberto Lopez.
“He is our leader,” Johnson said. “He’s been a big part of this team since he got here. He is the one who keeps this team going.”
Talabi tries to set the tone whenever he hits the field.
“I have improved my game tactically,” Talabi said. “I have worked on becoming a smarter player. I keep working hard. I get a lot of motivation from my parents and teammates. I always want to help my teammates. It has been an amazing experience.”
Talabi developed a passion for soccer during his early years in Nigeria, thanks largely to encouragement from his father (Victor). The family moved to California and Delaware, before settling in San Antonio in 2007. Eventually, he ended up at Jay.
“I have always loved soccer,” Talabi said. “When I first walked in here (Jay) I could tell they had the passion for soccer. I was taught to work and play with that passion. I was happy to be here.”
Now, he looks forward experiencing more thrills in the playoffs. Talabi helped Jay to the post-season the previous three years, which included a trip to the third round where the Mustangs lost to district opponent Clark during his sophomore campaign.
With more familiarity, plus the confidence of entering the playoffs as a district championship, Talabi believes the Mustangs can do something special.
“We want to go as far as possible,” Talabi said. “We know we can do it. We have to keep playing with the same passion and spirit for the whole 80 minutes. If it goes extra, we have to keep playing hard.”