From the elation of scoring a crucial goal in this year’s national premiership final to the gut-wrenching news that his season and possibly career was over due to concussion.
This was definitely a year of ups-and-downs for Team Wellington’s striker Tom Jackson.
Last weekend’s victory against Hawkes Bay United was Jackson’s first game back since July following a 3-month layoff due to an off-field accident. A CT scan had revealed a fractured skull and serious concussion.
The accident could not have come at a worse time for Jackson. He had enjoyed a stellar season with Team Wellington. He felt devastated not to be able to support Miramar in their fight for the title. He also had genuine concerns for his future career prospects.
Now, following a lot of hard work and support, Jackson feels he is back on track and ready for some big performances for Team Wellington.
Jackson was brought up in the town of Hawarden, Flintshire in North Wales as the eldest of three siblings. He grew up in a neighbourhood where sport played a central role in kid’s lives.
He was never short of idols to look up to, having grown up living next door to England football legend Michael Owens. He can recall hearing the sounds of Owen practicing table tennis next door- merely a hobbie for Owens who at the time was playing for the Liverpool Academy team.
Although still a big Owens fan, Jackson now admits Steven Gerrard has surpassed him as his favourite football star- for his loyalty, passion, drive and leadership.
At the age of 13, Jackson’s parents decided to relocate the family to Dunedin to enjoy the New Zealand lifestyle. After enjoying success at representative level, Jackson was offered a scholarship at Marshall University. At 18, Jackson left for America where he spent the following four years.
His experience playing abroad improved his football. He learnt how to compete in a very physically-demanding league. Jackson had to learn how to use his size to maximum advantage against faster opposition!
Following a period of time back in Dunedin playing for Southern United, Jackson was offered an opportunity to join Team Wellington as they sought success in the Oceanic League in 2015. This was too good an opportunity to turn down.
Jackson has never looked back since. He has settled into the Wellington lifestyle where he can pursue a range of social sports. He feels confident in his team’s ability to implement a positive style of football that Figueira is encouraging.
Jackson clearly does not lack drive. He has set himself the target of starting every game possible this season as well as an ambitious goal-scoring target.
He is determined to help Team Wellington win the league for the second consecutive year and to go one step further in the O-League.
Going by his recent show of perseverance, he will have every chance in achieving this and setting the premiership alight again this season.
- Rory Milne