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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Andrew Jackson has spent the brunt of his life playing soccer, and in January, he’s being celebrated as the Northern Vision Care Youth Athlete of the Month.

The 16-year-old has been playing soccer since the age of five. Andrew said he sometimes found himself demotivated to play, thinking he would never progress any further in the sport.

However, that changed last summer after attending a soccer camp in Lac La Biche, Alta and the Surf College Showcase in San Diego, California.

“What continues to motivate me is probably just my love for the sport and getting new opportunities to play,” said Andrew.

The North Peace Secondary School student said the trip to San Diego is his favourite memory of playing soccer so far.

“It was my first time out of the country, so we went there about a week early just to have like a vacation, and wow, it was definitely one of the best experiences of my life.”

Playing for the Fort St. John Northern Strikers, Andrew has received awards for team leadership and athlete of the year.

Looking into the future, Andrew is still deciding what he wants to pursue but said he would love to get a scholarship to play post-secondary soccer. The 16-year-old said his ideal career would be ” some type of engineering or instrumentation or electrical work.”

“I’m not sure if I want to try to pursue [soccer] professionally yet, but it’s still out there.”

Andrew is also a volleyball player, having played on his middle school and high school teams. He currently plays for the Fort St John ICE.

Though Andrew has a lot of fun playing volleyball, he doesn’t seem too interested in seeking a scholarship in the sport.

“Maybe if I grow a bit taller.”

Focusing on school and multiple sports may seem like a tough task at 16 years old, but for anyone wanting to take the same path as Andrew, he says to stay positive.

“Always tell yourself positive things. I think having a friend that is kind of in the same boat as you also helps a lot. It gives you more motivation, so you guys kind of stick with it together.”

Outside of school and sports, Andrew loves playing video games and chess, hanging with friends and going to the gym.

Congratulations to Andrew Jackson for being named the Northern Vision Care Youth Athlete of the Month for January.

If your athlete didn’t win this month, keep nominating! The votes carry over, so keep submitting your picks for the Northern Vision Care Youth Athlete of the Month!

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Tre Lopushinsky is the News Director at Energeticcity.ca, and a NAIT broadcasting graduate. His love for local journalism started in Lloydminster, where he realized the importance of covering issues/topics for smaller municipalities. He is also the co-host of Before The Peace, highlighting Indigenous voices in the North Peace. In his off time, Tre is yelling at his tv while watching pro wrestling, MMA, and basketball.