He was in the midst of a breakout season, three goals shy of trying a career mark in an abbreviated 2020 campaign before a concussion forced Jeremy Ebobisse to miss the final five games of the regular season.
The injury ended a streak of 75 consecutive matches and although the Portland Timbers forward returned to make a substitute appearance in the club’s Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs ouster to FC Dallas, Ebobisse said he “wasn’t proud” of how 2020 ended.
The goal in an extended offseason was to be mentally and physically fresh, but that was shortened by an invite to a combined camp for the US men’s national team and the U-23 team in January ahead of Olympic qualifying.
“I had to find a way to be as ready as possible and looking back in hindsight and even in that moment, I knew that I wasn’t ready, that I hadn’t gone through the processes that I needed to, to be in the right frame of mind to perform,” Ebobisse told Timbers FC television host Jake Zivin. “But ultimately its almost like that camp was kicking the cobwebs out of the concussion, of the post-concussive symptoms. Now it’s about really feeling myself again, feeling like I’m renewed.”
Ebobisse said he was able to find consistency in his play in the shortened 2020 season he wasn’t able to find previously as a professional. That’s his goal in 2021 as well, over the course of a regular 34-game regular season.
“Then we’re looking at a lot of goals, a lot of assists and helping the team in a really significant way with some of the dirty work as well, some of the stuff that I’m accustomed to doing for this team,” he said.
As he continues to mature, both as a person and a player, Ebobisse said his mindset has changed from the young academy and college player seeking validation from those who evaluate him.
“For me, the motivation comes with that competitive nature of coming from within and the people around me -- my family, my friends who want to see me push myself to get to the highest level, whether it’s being the best player in this league or being in Champions League on a daily basis or in a World Cup, whatever it might be,” Ebobisse said. “But it’s all about the people closest to me who have been there through everything, not the people who are going to come and go.”