This week on Here’s What We Know, we dive into the fascinating world of professional soccer, featuring our guest, JT Marcinkowski. From his childhood in Alamo, California, to defending the net for San Jose Earthquakes, JT shares his inspiring journey and gives us an inside look at what it takes to be an amazing goalkeeper.

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In this Episode:

  • Learn about how goalkeepers are no longer just shot-stoppers but integral playmakers on their teams.
  • Understand why positioning is as critical as reflexes when it comes to making those game-saving blocks.
  • JT shares insights on how other sports influenced his goalkeeping skills, particularly baseball and basketball.
  • Listen as JT discusses the challenges and stereotypes associated with height in goalkeeping and how he overcomes them.
  • JT candidly addresses the mental challenges faced by goalkeepers—the pressure of being the last line of defense—and how he works continuously with sports psychologists to maintain focus during games.
  • An in-depth discussion on how changes in soccer rules have affected gameplay strategy over time, particularly for goalkeepers, who now participate actively in building up plays rather than just waiting to react defensively.


“​​Sports is a huge part of my life. I love baseball. I love basketball. I love soccer. It was everything.”  ~ JT Marcinkowski

“I think a lot of people kind of describe keepers as being pretty weird and I think it takes a special sort of person to want to get hit by the ball instead of get out of the way of the ball.” ~ JT Marcinkowski

“Reflex is a huge part of it but, I think more than anything is just positioning and just being prepared and being ready for the shot because the higher level that you get to, the quicker that the forwards can score. The quicker that gets off their foot, you don’t really have much time to think or to, you know, you’re just reacting out there.” ~ JT Marcinkowski

“I’ve had to learn a lot of different things just because I’m not 6’7, I’m 6’1 on a good day. So that’s the, uh, you know, that’s the body that I’ve been given. I think that’s the, I can do a lot of things that maybe those taller guys can’t, or, you know, the bigger guys who play in goal just don’t have the same ability as I do.” ~ JT Marcinkowski

“ I think definitely speed and pace can differentiate some players.” ~ JT Marcinkowski

“Everything I try to do is to make it look easier than it actually is. Because, you know, that’s, what gives everybody confidence around you. That gives your teammates confidence. When they look back or when the goalkeeper makes the save, if it looks easy, everybody’s like, okay, no problem. Sure. That was, maybe it was a hard shot. Maybe it was tough, but he made it look easy. All right, let’s go out and get another play.” ~ JT Marcinkowski

“I’m trying to anticipate; I’m trying to read the game to make sure I’m in the right position to make the safe.” ~ JT Marcinkowski


James Thomas “JT” Marcinkowski is a professional soccer player who plays as a goalkeeper for Major League Soccer club San Jose Earthquakes.  JT played for the Georgetown Hoyas for three seasons, from 2015 to 2017, where he achieved a 0.84 goals against average (GAA) over 56 appearances.

In his final season at Georgetown, he captained the team to a 2017 Big East Conference Men’s Soccer Tournament championship win, his second with the team. He also played two games for the USL PDL side, the Burlingame Dragons. Marcinkowski signed a Homegrown Player contract with the MLS side San Jose Earthquakes on December 6, 2017, after spending four years prior to his college career with the team’s academy. He was San Jose’s third-ever homegrown signing to the first team, after Tommy Thompson and Nick Lima. Marcinkowski was then temporarily loaned to San Jose’s USL affiliate, Reno 1868 FC, and played his first game for the team in Reno’s 3-4 loss to Swope Park Rangers on March 17, 2018. Marcinkowski has played for the United States men’s national team at multiple levels, earning 24 caps between the U14 and U18 levels. In 2017, he played for the U20 squad, at the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship and the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

JT was named to the final 20-player United States under-23 roster for the 2020 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship in March 2021.

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