CAROL STREAM – The awards have piled up for Justin Jackson throughout his football career at Glenbard North.
But there is something a little extra special that comes with the red, white and blue.
The Panthers running back was recently selected to play for the Team USA under-19 team in a matchup against Canada on Feb. 7 in Arlington, Texas.
The game will be played at Maverick Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington.
“It is a really big deal to be selected and to play for the national team and represent our country,” said Jackson, who will be making his first trip to Texas. “It’s more special than some of the other awards I’ve received because it speaks for the country. It is not a DVC award, it’s not a state award, it’s a national thing.
“It’s a really big deal for me, and I’m honored to be selected. I can’t wait to go down there; I think it will be a lot of fun.”
Jackson was presented with his Team USA jersey in a short ceremony before Friday’s game against Lake Park.
“I didn’t really understand the intensity of the moment until it [the presentation] happened,” he said. “I couldn’t predict the feeling. I’m just glad they were able to do that in front of our Panthers’ fans. They showed up in large numbers for the game. I’m really thankful for them because they have been there throughout the whole ride for me and the team.”
Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens said the honor was well deserved.
“It’s a cool thing to represent our country and to play Canada,” Wilkens said, “and it’s a cool experience to be able to travel and play with different players from throughout the country. It will be a great experience.”
St. Rita senior Tommy Mister also received one of the four running back invites for Team USA.
The rest of the roster will be unveiled through mid-October.