Talented footballer and University of Sunderland student called-up for national team

A talented footballer from the city’s university is celebrating his “greatest footballing achievement” after being called up to the National Universities team.

By Neil Fatkin

Centre back Simon Jakab, 22, has been called up by English Universities Sport national team for their upcoming fixture against Yale University at Macclesfield Stadium.

Following his selection Simon said: “It makes me extremely proud and it’s without a doubt the greatest achievement of my footballing career so far.

“I’ll just do my best on the pitch and hopefully make my University proud. I’m carrying a bit of a knock on my ankle for the past few weeks, but when you’re on the pitch, the adrenaline just takes over.”

Originally from Hungary, Simon moved to Sunderland in 2017 and has lived in the city ever since. Part of the Team Sunderland Elite Athlete scheme, Simon is combining his football with studying for a Masters in Psychology which he hopes will lead to specialising in sports psychology.

Simon’s international recognition follows on from establishing a successful career in semi-professional football.

When he enrolled at the University in 2019 to study Sports and Exercise Sciences, Simon began playing for Northern Premier League Division One club Consett AFC and was part of the squad which travelled to Wembley for the FA Vase Final in 2021.

He currently plays for North Shields FC, also currently in the Northern Premier League Division One, and the University’s Team Sunderland.

Simon said: “The support I’ve received from Team Sunderland has been immense. They supported me throughout my trials and even booked my accommodation.

“A lot of support also came from being on the Elite Athlete Scheme. This included physiotherapy earlier in the season when I got injured and personal training sessions. All these things play an important role in how I came to be where I am today.”

Laura Hockaday, Sport Development Officer for Team Sunderland, said: “Simon being selected for English Universities is such a proud moment for us.

“Simon has been part of our Elite Athlete Scheme for the past three years and has played a massive part in our men’s football programme securing two back-to-back league titles as well as winning the Northern Conference Cup with our Men’s 1st Team.”

Coach James Clark, added: “Since first arriving at the University, Simon was without doubt a special talent.”