February 1, 2013
Ex-NJCU goalkeeper Grant dies at 24
JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- New Jersey City University is mourning the passing of former men's soccer goalkeeper Justin Grant, who died on Jan. 27. He was 24.
Grant was two weeks shy of his 25th birthday.
The Montclair, N.J., an eight-game starter for the Gothic Knights in 2009, played 13 games in goal that season covering 826:48 and made 33 saves while facing 123 shots for a 2.18 goals-against average. He posted a 5-5-1 record as a Business Administration major concentrating in Sports Management.
Perhaps his finest game of his lone season as a Gothic Knight came on Oct. 30, when Grant was the winning goalkeeper in the biggest upset in the NJCU men's soccer history with a stunning 2-1 extratime victory over third-ranked Montclair State University, handing it its first New Jersey Athletic Conference loss in nearly three seasons. The result snapped the Red Hawks' 19-game NJAC regular-season unbeaten streak — 23 games including the NJAC Tournament — while also ending the Hawk's 37-game regular-season unbeaten streak covering all games.
In that game, Grant, who did not start, made three highlight-reel quality saves in the second half as the Knights subbed keepers at the intermission.
Among NJAC players in 2009, Grant was 10th in saves, 11th in saves per game (2.54), 11th in save percentage (.623) and 12th in GAA.
The 6-foot, 230-lb. junior transferred to NJCU that season from Mercer County Community College. Current NJCU men's coach Patrick Snyder, who guided Grant as an assistant coach at Mercer, recalled his former player.
“I was an assistant at Mercer when Justin was a freshman in 2006. Justin was one of the funniest players I have ever coached," he said. "He could give anyone a hard time and you could do nothing but laugh especially if you were the target. He was self-deprecating and just generally fun to be around. As a player he had a ton of potential with flashes of brilliance.”
At Montclair High School, Grant played four years of soccer for coaches Rick Jacobs and Jack Webber. A part of two state championship teams in 2002 and 2003, he earned All-State and All-Essex County honors in 2004 and 2005. As a junior, Grant returned from an injury mid-season to solidify a unit that gave up nine goals while posting a 20-2 record.
A wake will be held for Grant on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Martin's Home for Service, 48 Elm Street in Montclair, N.J.
A funeral service will be on Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. Mathew's A.M.E. Church, 336 Oakwood Avenue in Orange, N.J.