Jacob Edwards is the best paintball player in the world under 20 years of age. In fact, he’s just about to turn 18. He’s been playing with Tampa Bay Damage for the past 3 ½ years, and he’s become a World Champion while making a name for himself. In a sudden turn of events, he’s leaving Damage and moving over to the defending PSP Champs Houston Heat. Here are his thoughts on why he left, and his new team.
First off, I think it pretty amazing that you haven’t yet hit 18, but you’re one of the best players in the league…that’s pretty impressive. Give us a history of where you came from and how you got so good, so fast.
You know, I always love to hear stuff like this because it shows all my hard work paid off. I always played for Florida based teams with my brother, Jason Edwards, as my coach. Even when the team didn’t have practice, I was still out there either playing different positions that I needed to work on or doing drills to better my game. My brother and I have really good drills we either got from team practices or made up ourselves. I would spend hours on a field just shooting targets. If you do the right things, it pays off.
Is it hard leaving a team who raised you up, a team who your older brother still plays for? Damage has taken 2nd two events in a row and has been either a champion or super close to the top since you’ve been on the team, that’s kinda hard to walk away from, right?
It is very hard. I’ve spent countless nights with no sleep, just staring at the ceiling just wondering if I made the right choice. I still love everyone on Damage and have no hard feelings for the staff. I just think it’s time to move on when I get sat for playing good. I wouldn’t mind getting sat if I played bad. I would be the first to sit myself, but I just didn’t understand why I was getting sat.
Why exactly did you walk away? It seems like– well obviously or you wouldn’t be leaving—that you and the new coach of Damage seem to have different opinions on who should be playing. How did your departure from Damage go down?
I don’t want to answer this because I don’t want hard feelings with anyone. Coach SK is a great guy, but I just don’t think he sees what I bring to the team.
What do you consider your strengths as a player?
I would say my strengths are closing and pulling out games. I would be a person to put out on the field in an overtime point because I will make stuff happen if we are down. I will try my best to pull the game out.
I would say experience. I hear a lot about how experience matters and I don’t have much, just 3 1/2 years pro, but with the winning record I have, I would say I’ve earned my spot to play.
What other teams had expressed interest in you, and why did you end up choosing Houston Heat?
I had 3 offers: Heat, Ironmen, and Infamous. I chose Heat because I like their chemistry; they are more like a family. With them, I get a chance to learn more in my paintball career. They practice more than any team out there.
How well do you feel you will mesh with the guys on Heat? What position do you think Coach Jason Trosen will have you play?
I think I will mesh fine, they’re all cool guys and have the same will to win.
What are your goals in this sport now? Really, you probably already checked off a lot of what most people would consider the main goals of playing paintball at its highest level, like get on a great pro team and win the World Championship.
I mean, I just want to keep winning. There is no better feeling than winning, and I felt like over on Damage they weren’t giving me the chance to help my team win.
Any advice for players who might find themselves in your position one day? Or who want to get to your position one day?
It takes a lot of hard work and determination, if you don’t go to every practice wanting to be there or every drill wanting to improve, you won’t make it to the top.
How will Jacob Edwards do with Heat? Mark your calendars for the third event of the 2013 PSP season brought to you live from the legendary CPX Paintball Park, June 21st – 23rd, by Paintball Access. Can Moscow Red Legion and CEP fight out of the Challengers Division? Will Dynasty win three events in row? Find out as the best paintball players in the world fight it out at the PSP Chicago Open!