Two Wildcat seniors’ soccer journeys


Aaron Draper

Donovan Jackson (23) and Luis Albarran (1) with their families on Senior Night

Chico State Men’s Soccer just wrapped up a great 2022 season. Making the playoffs for the sixth straight year and winning their first playoff game in four years.

There are numerous reasons for Chico State’s fantastic season, but at the top of the list sits their defense which has only allowed 13 goals all season, good for third in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. 

Part of what makes their defense so effective is senior goalkeeper Luis Albarran and defender Donovan Jackson.

The two joined Chico State’s team in 2018 and redshirted their freshman year for the Wildcats, both becoming mainstays on the 2021 lineup. That year Albarran started all 18 matches and Jackson appeared in nine games, starting six of those. 

“As you get older you gain experience and step into more of a leadership role,” Jackson said. “We’ve been through playoffs, tough losses and good wins so it’s important for us to be able to talk to the young guys about all that.”

Jackson fighting for the ball against a player on Monterey State. Photo by Aaron Draper

The last time the Wildcats made the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament was in 2018, back when Jackson and Albarran were both redshirt freshmen. Now, in 2022, they are looking to get another shot.

“Coming into Chico we were a part of the last team who made the tournament, it would be cool if we can end it how we started,” Albarran said.

Albarran clearing a ball to his teammate after a save. Photo by Aaron Draper

They both sincerely believed in this team and how far they could go.

“We know we have had a few losses and ties that simply just didn’t go our way, we know how important it is to perform in these playoffs to prove that we can beat these teams despite how young people say we are,” Jackson said.

Over the years there have been many experiences that have been memorable for the two seniors. However, both echoed the same statement when asked what was so special about their experience at Chico State.

“Getting to go on all the travel trips and seeing new people with differing personalities, you get to meet people with different backgrounds every year,” Jackson said.

Both seniors had advice for younger players and players entering the program.

“Teamwork and working hard,” Jackson and Albarran said simultaneously. “Work hard for the people around you, you’re constantly faced with adversity and you need to find [a] way to get over that ledge and work through it.”

Jackson Elrod can be reached at [email protected] or @jacksonelrod13 on Twitter.