Students of Loyola: Jason Ybarra

Jason Ybarra is a freshman studying business here at Loyola. Originally from Des Plaines, he’s been playing soccer since he was four years old. What started with his older siblings has now been carried on, as Jason has become a promising addition to Loyola’s team. You can catch him on the field playing either forward or winger (as #29), or off the pitch hanging out with his teammates. We spoke about his transition onto a college team and how his time at Loyola has been thus far. 



What were you expecting about soccer culture here at Loyola? How have you seen that play out, both with yourself and the fans? 


I knew about balancing the academic part and athletic part of playing in college and that it was going to be kind of hard. But with all the teammates and all of the support that I have here, it made it easy for me. At the same time, you still have to work hard if you want to get minutes on the field and still get good grades, and it’s been hard but I’ve pulled through...I think. 


As for the games, we’ve actually had big crowds. For “Hustle at Hoyne” especially, I think we had over 1,000 people show up! So every time you’d do something you’d hear “Ooh!!!” and it would hype you up. At my high school games, we’d only have 10, 15 people and half of that would be my family. So it’s kind of a huge difference. At first it was nerve wracking, because you have so many more people watching you play and you don't want to mess up. But as time goes on, you gain more confidence through playing. Once you’re playing, you don’t really acknowledge the crowd until you do something big or you score, then you feel it there. It’s still a huge difference, but it's been good – it’s been fun. 



How have you dealt with going from high school, and teammates you knew really well, to transitioning to a whole new team here in college? 


It’s been kind of hard actually because I’m a brand new face and I kind of came in late into the process. I was one of the last recruits – I came in like a month or two before preseason even started and usually people come in like their junior year, they’re already committed, or the beginning of senior year. So for me, it was a fast-paced process. But once I got here, the guys were super acceptable and they treated me so well. It quickly gained into a brotherhood. 


We obviously hang out so much and we interact all the time, both off and on the field. It’s really a big brotherhood to have and it’s cool having that! Some people come in with like maybe zero to a couple friends and you have to hang out with those friends all the time. But with these guys, it’s been easier to meet other people! And through them, I’ve met more people as they introduce me to their friends. You gain a lot more than just playing time here. I’ve found a lot of friendships through playing the sport.