Jamison Magowan had been a starter at every level of soccer growing up, from his time in Stonington's youth program to club teams to high school.
A whiz kid with the ball, the skilled Magowan helped Stonington High to the Class M state semifinals in 2018, his senior season, scoring 18 goals to go with 17 assists. He was an All-State and All-New England selection.
But at Assumption last fall, he was most always on the sideline during kickoff, watching.
"It was definitely different coming off the bench," Magowan said. "It was definitely a change, but I liked it. I could see what the opposing team was like, and that helped me when I got on the field."
Magowan, who missed a few games due to an ankle injury, got on the field in 11 of 21 games for the Greyhounds, a Division II program playing in the Northeast-10 Conference. He started once — certainly not what he was accustomed to — "but got good minutes" as a center attacking midfielder and finished with one goal and two assists.
And there was more to his freshman season at Assumption than individual stats: He realized a childhood dream by scoring his first collegiate goal, and he was part of a Hounds team that won the conference title — its first in program history — and reached the Division II national championships.
Not a bad start to a college career, at all.
"The national tournament was a big thrill for me," Magowan said. "It's one of the best things to ever happen to me. You see it on TV as a little kid, then you're just like, 'Wow, this is really happening.'"
Assumption won its opening-round game of the NCAAs, 2-1 in two overtimes, on the road against West Chester University. The Hounds fell to Gannon University in the second round, 5-0, to finish with a 13-8 record.
In the NE-10 tournament, they won at Le Moyne, 2-0, and defeated American International in a thrilling semifinal, 3-2, a contest that stuck with Magowan.
"It was our first night game of the tournament because of EEE [restrictions]," he said. "It was such a good game on both sides. Both teams attacked and defended really well. We scored with about four minutes left to win it."
The Hounds went on to defeat Saint Rose, 2-1 overtime, to capture their first-ever conference crown.
"It was insane," Magowan said.
Upon arriving at the Worcester, Mass., university, Magowan said it took him about two weeks to adjust to the life of an on-campus freshman who plays for the soccer team.
The biggest differences in the college game compared to high school were the speed of play (faster) and the caliber of play (better), which Magowan said he enjoyed because it served to motivate him to improve. Other than that, it was still fundamentally soccer.
"It's the same sport, nothing new," the 5-8, 125-pounder said. "It's a different speed, and the kids might be a little bit bigger and more athletic, but that's about it."
His biggest problem was with an early-morning practice time of 6 a.m., which was scheduled once or twice a week.
"That was the worst, for sure," he said.
Magowan saw his first action in Assumption's second game, at home against Caldwell University. He scored his first point, an assist, in a 3-2 victory over Southern New Hampshire on Sept. 25. His goal came in an Oct. 12 home game vs. Le Moyne, and it was somewhat of a mixed blessing.
Magowan scored on a set play, a corner kick into the middle that a defender misplayed in front of him, he said. Surprised by the whiff, Magowan was able to get his right foot on the cross to score, but the awkwardness in which he did so turned his right ankle and damaged a ligament that slowed him for the rest of the season.
"But it went in and I'll take it," he said.
"I've always dreamed about scoring that first goal in college soccer, so when it happened it was like a dream come true. I'm lucky I don't have to wait for that second year to get that first goal."
It may be awhile before that second year takes place.
The NE-10 postponed all fall sports due to coronavirus concerns, so Magowan and the Greyhounds don't know when they'll get back on the field.
"I was upset, but there's nothing we can really do about it. Just hope for the best and and start playing as soon as possible," Magowan said.
In the meantime, he's working at Stonington Country Club, playing soccer with the Southeast Soccer Club's under-23 team and working out with trainer Todd Gwaltney. Come fall, he'll be focused on schoolwork — he's a management major — and thinking about soccer.
Those thoughts will include hoping that a starting spot at his position might be in the offing.
"I knew going to college that I wasn't going to start, but I'll make my way up," he said. "I'm comfortable with that. When the time comes, it'll come."