During his four years as a Jefferson High School student, Cougars senior goalkeeper Ian Forrest has taken a remarkable journey.
During his freshman year, Forrest played football for the Cougars, lettering as the starting kick returner.
"I had played middle school football at Harpers Ferry for two years, and decided to start playing football for Jefferson," Forrest said. I had enjoyed it the year I did play, but it just didn't seem fun anymore."
Jefferson goalkeeper Ian Forrest has returned to the soccer field in a big way, helping the Cougars to a spot in the Class AAA state soccer tournament this week.
The journey took Forrest to the soccer pitch, playing goalkeeper his sophomore season. His experience growing up earned him an opportunity to play goalkeeper his sophomore year.
"I played for many years growing up through AYSO and EPIC," Forrest said. "I decided to give it a shot, and coach liked me at goalkeeper, so I made the team."
Forrest then stepped away from the pitch to pursue a once in a lifetime opportunity playing in the Paintball Sports Promotions World Cup in Orlando, Fla. his junior year.
"My team got the chance to play in one of the biggest events in tournament paintball," Forrest said. "It was a great experience, and it took up a lot of my time."
Despite the experience of playing paintball at a high level, it left Forrest with some regrets of not playing soccer his junior year.
It further prepared for the success of his senior year in his return to the soccer team as the starting goalkeeper, however.
"Coming back, I didn't think that everyone was going to accept me as much as they did," Forrest said of his return. "I was able to get right back in it because I knew the guys and the coaches."
Forrest's desire to lead came out, resulting in earning captainship.
"I had to work to become a captain," Forrest said. "Once the coaches saw what I had and how people were able to listen to me, I had earned it."
This season, Forrest has left opposing strikers in the trees, leading the area in shutouts with 12 total, including postseason play, as one of the three captains of the first Cougars team to reach the state tournament since 2007.
"Ninety percent of those have to belong to the defense," Forrest said. "They have kept the ball out of my hands, and that made it easy because the shots that did come my way were saveable or just rolled to me.
"Going in, I knew that I could trust my defense, and they could trust me. We have the game in our hands as the defense and have a bigger impact on the game."
Forrest has taken every part of his high school journey and has used it to prepare athletically for the West Virginia state tournament semifinals where the Cougars take on the George Washington Patriots at 12:30 pm. Friday.
"Football helped me with footwork and handwork, and the hard hitting made me not afraid. Paintball also demanded physical shape." Forrest said. "I was in shape and ready to go, and the team bonding during paintball prepared me to come back to school sports."