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Jon Stewart once sent his college soccer team to the NCAA tournament

Daily Show host Jon Stewart’s college soccer career began unglamorously on the JV team at William & Mary. 

Long before he took over as host of The Daily Show, a post he’s leaving on Thursday, Jon Stewart was a walk-on soccer player for William & Mary, and he was actually pretty good. 

Stewart explained in the foreword to his coach’s book in 2010 that his career began with the JV team as a freshman, “which turned out to be not so much a program as a sign-up sheet in a Greek kid’s dorm room.” After facing opponents such as “an impressive team of orderlies from the mental hospital adjacent to” campus, Stewart was offered a spot on the varsity roster for his sophomore season. 

The highlight of Stewart’s career came as a senior, when his game-winning goal in the ECAC championship game against UConn sent the Tribe to the NCAA tournament. Stewart, then known by his given name, Leibowitz, scored in the second minute of a 1–0 game. 

In February, after Stewart announced he was leaving The Daily Show, the Hartford Courantdug up an old game story about his crowning athletic achievement. They misspelled his first name, though. 

“Once John Leibowitz had put them ahead after the Huskies failed to clear an innocuous leftside raid in the second minute, the Indians (8-3-2) were content to defend and play the ball to goalkeeper Charlie Smith at every opportunity,” the story read. 

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“I think they may have been a bit disorganized at the start of the game on the goal,” Stewart was quoted as saying. “Scott Bell got free on the left, but the goalie came out and got part of the ball. I was left completely unmarked.”

The goal wasn’t a fluke for Stewart—he scored 10 times and added 12 assists during his three varsity seasons. 

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- Dan Gartland