Hilmar Leon Jakobsen started the year 2020 as a handball player in the Faroe Islands national team player, but little could he have believed that he would end up playing football with the Farroe Island National Football team.
Born 2 August 1997, in Farroe Island. Jakobsen’s childhood dream was to play football actively but he was advised by doctors that playing handball will be good for his health.
“I have always wanted to be a footballer but doctors advised me to stop at the age of 17 because I had to undergo an operation on my hip,” says Jakobsen, now 23.
“They said playing handball would be better for my health. That was extremely disappointing at the time.”
Considered as one of the best footballers in his age group as a youngster, and even made his First Division debut for HB Torshavn as a 16-year-old in 2013. Jakobsen used to play in the midfield. “I aspired to have a professional career abroad as a footballer but had to abandon that dream and switch to handball,” Jakobsen remembers.
Jakobsen turned out to be very good handball player after he had to abandoned football. “I joined H71, who are the best club in the Faroe Islands, represented the under-20 national team, and was later called into the senior national team,” Jakobsen says.
When pandemic struck, handball activities were stopped, Jakobsen had to play a bit of football with the reserve team of HB football club, a football club in Farroe Island.
“In those circumstances, I decided to play football a bit with the reserve team of HB, in order to stay fit. I scored twice on my debut and then suddenly the head coach got in touch with me,” Jakobsen recalls.
Former Norwich City defender who is now in coach of HB, Jens Berthel Askou, wanted Jakobsen to join the senior squad. “Initially, I refused because it seemed like a bad idea, but then I thought about it for a while and changed my mind,” Jakobsen says.
It was Askou decision that changed Jakobsen’s life completely.
At was at the time the Faroe Islands Premier League kicked off, yet Jakobsen was immediately thrown into the starting line-up as a Centre-forward for HB. “I never played in that position before as a youngster but the coach thought I should be used in the penalty area,” he says. Jakobsen scored in three consecutive matches in July and. He had a return for 12 goals and five assists in just 17 fixtures, helping the team to win the title.
In 2019, he was a champion in handball with H71. In 2020, he was a trophy in football too.
Jakobsen faced Lithuania as a handball player in January. A few days later, he played against the same country, but it was in a different sport. Jakobsen played the full 90 minutes against Lithuania, signaling that he could be the Faroe Islands’ new target man.
“This is definitely the best year of my life,” he says. “Suddenly, I am a footballer again, winning titles and representing my country in my favorite sport. Liverpool won the title in England too, which makes it even better. I wasn’t born when they did it in 1990.
“From now on, I am fully dedicated to football. My handball team-mates might have been a bit sad to see me go, but they fully support me and understand.
“As for my new team-mates at HB, I have known some of them from the youth teams. They can’t stop laughing when they think of what happened to me this year.
“Now, the target is to play abroad. That’s what I wanted as a kid and I can think about it again. Maybe I would be able to move to Denmark, Sweden or Norway, and go to an even bigger league from there.