In the summer of 2012, Lionel Messi was already considered by many to be one of the greatest players the sport of soccer had ever seen.

The Barcelona superstar, then 24 years old, had just come off a season where he scored an 50 La Liga goals and 48 total games.

Meanwhile, just over 6,000 miles away, a 20-year-old Josh Cohen had just finished his junior year at UC San Diego

he had logged the second-longest shutout streak in Tritons program history at 766 minutes, 

"It's something I've dreamed about, but never in a tangible way," Cohen told ESPN

On Sept. 14, now 30 years old and playing for Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa, Cohen, born in the San Jose suburb of Mountain View

Cohen and his side put in an admirable performance, with the American making a number of high-quality reflex saves.

It's a fascinating journey for a player whose college career almost never got going. 

UC San Diego head coach Jon Pascale said that the Tritons nearly passed on Cohen as a college player.