English soccer player leads Vaqueros

Michael Mebratu

The City College men’s soccer team has had a tough start, but 18-year-old, England native Lee Jackson believes it’s only a matter of time before the Vaqs go on a winning streak.

“We will start winning games soon,” Jackson said. “The players and the talent are there.”

Lee Jackson was born and raised just outside Manchester, England in a town called Chester. The local boys influenced him to play soccer at the age of seven.

“All the older boys were playing soccer on the streets,” Jackson said. “And I just wanted to be a part of it and play soccer.”

Jackson said his parents were his biggest influence and supporters. He grew up in a household filled with genuine Manchester United fans.

The 5-foot-9-inch left-back started to play for local youth teams, including one for Manchester United at an age of 12 and Manchester City at 13.

He learned much from current Manchester United’s team captain Gary Neville, Brazilian left-back Fabio da Silva, chinese forward Dong Fangzhuo and “Manchester’s homegrown talented Danny Welback,” Jackson said.

After playing for United youth teams, he decided to change route and move across town to play for arch rivals Manchester City. He stayed at City for six months before deciding that it was time to take a break and concentrate on other things besides soccer.

He focused on school and started enjoying life in other ways, such as spending time with loved ones, watching rugby and playing soccer pick-up games at the local fields with friends and family.

A few years later, his competitive nature came back and brought him to Stockport College where he started playing for their schools team.

“It went all right at Stockport, but I needed a new challenge, soccer-wise,” Jackson said.

Jackson contacted City College’s head soccer coach John Sisterson and immediately knew Santa Barbara was the right choice.

Having seven English players on the team helped him to adjust efficiently, and Jackson feels at home. He believes that his experience is beneficial for the team.

“Lee has been a major contributor on the field,” Sisterson said. “We have plenty of players from different backgrounds, so it’s all about coming together.”

Jackson has not only received his coach’s approval, but the support of his teammates.

“Lee has brought experience to the team, and intelligence, he’s definitely been a good addition,” Quiding Lui said. “His strength is his ‘never say die’ attitude, but he’s also strong and fast.”

Teammate and fellow countryman Michael Dowson describes Jackson as a player who’s “just a good guy” and wants everyone to do well.

“Lee is a hard worker, covers a large part of the pitch, and talks to other players,” Dowson said. “Off the field, he’s just one of the guys.”

Jackson is not only trying to be successful on the field, he also wants to prevail behind the desk. At the moment he has been considering to major in sports physiology.

“Lee has not only been contributing on the field, but he has been attending all classes and setting a good example,” Sisterson said.

After completing his two years at City College, Jackson hopes to transfer to a 4-year university, with eyes set on UCSB because of his love for the area. But he doesn’t plan to cancel out any offers from other schools.

“You never know what will happen in the future, but I would love to return home and play for Manchester United again, and eat proper English mayonnaises,” he said. “But I love it here in California. So far, so good.”