By Ebony Carrington of Oowee Sports Nation
Having a Mamba Mentality (created by
Kobe Bryant) is the ability to dedicate oneself
to excellence with no excuses ⏤ focusing on
improvement everyday, no matter the goal,
no matter the adversity faced.
This is the mindset 16-year-old Grant
Jackson took on when he rejoined the soccer
team after five years. He took a break due to
other interests and the Covid-19 pandemic.
When he realized his school soccer team was
down one player due to injury, he stepped
into the position of goalie.
Now, with one season under his belt and
being named District Newcomer of the Year,
District Goalie of the year, Team MVP and 1st
Team All-District, all while maintaining a 3.5
GPA with AP and Honors courses ⏤ he’s riding
high and setting his next goals.
“In the coming year, I hope to repeat as 1st
Team All-District Goalkeeper, and of course,
win more games,” the rising junior said. “I look
to someone like Kobe Bryant for inspiration
because of his never lose attitude and
Re-entering the world of soccer has
presented a few challenges for Jackson. As a
new goalkeeper, he’s learning a lot of crucial
components on how to protect the team’s
goal from opponents by catching, clearing or
redirecting threatening shots from
crossing the goal-line using his
hands and body (all which is new).
Prior to this year, he played center
back ⏤ relying more on his speed,
agility and footwork.
“As a goalkeeper, I am able to
dominate because of my reflexes
combined with my recognition of angles and
speed is an asset,” he shared. “I love reading
the field and understanding all the positions
of the game. At some point, I have played as
an attacker, midfielder and defender.”
To prepare for the upcoming season, he’s
participating in the University of North Texas
Mean Green Soccer Camp, running track and
playing basketball ⏤ all helping to increase his
speed and leg strength.
Jackson is excited about his future in soccer
and looking forward to growing and learning
more on the team. His current top three
college choices are Louisiana State University,
University of North Carolina and University of
With the attitude “failure is only failure if
you allow it to become failure,” follow Grant
Jackson on Oowee Sports Nation (a network
for youth athletes) as he continues to channel