Josh Cohen’s regimented daily schedule begins sometime between 8 and 9 a.m. in the training room, where he’ll spend the next three to five hours. Then he gets a couple hours of downtime before heading to Sacramento State for his evening classes, which this semester start at 4 p.m.
Other evenings? You’ll find him on the soccer pitch, parked in front of the goal and trying to keep the Sacramento Republic FC’s opponent from scoring.
“Playing for Sacramento, in particular, is amazing just because of the fan base we have and the culture of the team in Sacramento,” said Cohen, the starting goalkeeper for the Republic. “At every game, we have 10,000, 11,000 people out there.”
Cohen also is a master’s in mechanical engineering student in his third semester at Sacramento State, balancing school with life as a professional athlete. The Sunnyvale native completed his undergraduate degree at UC San Diego.
Playing soccer professionally has been a dream of Cohen’s since he was a small child, but when that dream came true and he was deciding where to play, his higher education goals definitely were a factor.
“Choosing to play in Sacramento, (Sacramento State) did factor into that decision. I looked up the engineering program and looked up the schedule and the type of classes that were offered,” he said. “I liked how they divided up the coursework into different subcategories, and I could focus on one or two categories that were interesting to me.”
For Cohen, that meant focusing on automation and mechanical design. He enjoys building devices and machines, and says he enjoys working on side projects, such as the 3-D printer he made last year and continues to improve.
Though he hopes to continue playing soccer professionally for as long as possible, he hopes to work as an engineer when his playing days are over. And while his undergraduate education was focused on theory and seemingly on preparing people for academic careers, he says he appreciates Sacramento State’s focus on real-world education, something he knows will make him a more valuable employee whenever he does enter the workforce.
“My interest has always been more in the nitty-gritty, industry, getting-my-hands-dirty side of things,” Cohen said. “And I feel like here, I get a lot of experience.”