Colby Jackson played his first two years of college soccer at San Diego State.
"I thought it was a waste," Jackson said. "I was very disappointed in my two seasons there. It seemed to me like there was no real interest there in any program but football, and I wasn't very impressed with the soccer program there anyway."
Jackson transferred to Cal State Fullerton after his sophomore year, was a redshirt last year, and is one of the starting forwards for Coach Al Mistri's team this season. He says being at Fullerton is a big difference.
"Everything is better here," Jackson said.
"I had to sit out last year because a couple of my credits didn't transfer, but that probably was good for me. After leaving there, I had a lot of bad feelings and my confidence was really down. Last year, I was able to practice with the team, though, and that helped me regain my confidence. And only being able to watch the games made me realize how much I love soccer."
Mistri believes Jackson's new enthusiasm is reflected in his play this season. He leads the Titans (5-1-1) in goals with five and in scoring with 13 points.
"He's off to a fine start," Mistri said. "He seems to have taken to our program like a fish to water."
Jackson became eligible at just the right time for the Titans.
Sheldon Thomas and Charlie Lynch--Fullerton's top two scorers in 1997--completed their eligibility last season. They scored 19 of Fullerton's 40 goals last season.
"I probably would have redshirted him last season regardless because I would have wanted to make sure about the quality of his resolve to our program and to soccer," Mistri said. "It was a known fact that he was a good athlete, and I've been very pleased with his dedication and his work ethic."
Jackson played soccer and football at Claremont High and might have had the option of a college career in football had he been bigger.
He was named Inland Valley player of the year in soccer as a senior and was All-San Gabriel Valley as a wide receiver and free safety in football. Jackson thinks football scouts probably backed away when they learned he was only 5 feet 10 and 160 pounds as a high school senior.
"I miss football sometimes, but I'm glad I stayed with soccer," he said. "It probably didn't make a lot of sense to get destroyed by someone almost twice your size. I still get some contact in soccer. I'm just as sore after a soccer game as I was after playing football. There's a lot more running in soccer."
Jackson hopes he can help the Titans improve on last year's 10-10 record.
"I think our defense is better than last year, and I think that will help a lot," he said. "But we have to play every game this season like it's the most important one."
A year ago, the Titans defeated UCLA, the team that won the national championship, but they were upset by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal State Northridge later in the season. Those losses cost the Titans a berth in the NCAA playoffs.
Gymnast Cortney Bogart has decided to pass up her senior season because of continuing shoulder problems.
"She had surgery last year in the preseason and was able to compete somewhat, but her shoulder didn't improve enough for her to continue," Titan associate head coach Julie Knight said. "She'll work with me this year as a volunteer undergraduate assistant coach."
Knight said the Titans should have more depth this season with 16 gymnasts, eight of them freshmen.
The Titan men's soccer team has a three-game winning streak, but the eighth game of the season has been a jinx for some other Titan teams. The 1996 team was 5-1-1 before losing to San Francisco, and the 1994 team lost to Fresno State after going 5-1-1. . . . Art Ramirez was selected as the top offensive player and Rigoberto Bustos the top defensive player in the MetLife tournament last weekend.