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John Johnson

Brian Jackson was a ball boy in the Houston Academy varsity youth soccer program from 1994-1997 when his father, Ken Jackson, coached the Raiders.

“I didn’t care in the world,” Brian recalls. “I was a little kid who was involved in soccer, going out on the soccer field and watching my brother and father. I just fell in love with the game.”

Jackson is the Raiders’ new boys’ soccer coach and will face Charles Henderson at the Westgate Complex this Friday. As was the case many years ago, his father stays with him on the sidelines, but this time he takes on the role of assistant and head junior varsity coach.

“I’m very blessed to have him provide all of this guidance and advice,” Jackson said of his father.

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Football has always been an integral part of the Jackson family.

Ken was a four-year letterman in sports at Berea (Kentucky) College and has been involved as a coach both internally and externally for the past 41 years. He leads youth recreation he teams, club travel teams, and high school programs.

Brian and his older brother JJ were prominent in Northview during high school and learned the sport from their father.

“When I was a kid, it was very serious… it was very difficult, but we were always really good at it,” Brian said. , I enjoy playing football, I have to go through all the nuances, such as drills and different movements, and I look forward to the final scrimmage.

“I appreciate it even more as an adult now that I understand the importance and value he brought to all of the different schemes and trainings.”

Brian, who played college football as a placekicker at Ball State University and later turned professional in the Arena Football League, will take on his first role as head soccer coach. He helped his father with the Raiders JV program from his 2014 to his 2018.

Having been HA’s Director of Marketing, Communications and Sports Information since 2017, he didn’t hesitate to apply for the position as head boys national team coach when it opened up last August.

“Due to the nature of my job, I post job announcements on the website,” Brian said. “When the athletic director came up to me and said, ‘Hey, post this job. Don’t be surprised if

“On the back end, all I knew was that it was indeed myself, my father, and Tom[Renshaw]who had applied. A week went by and from that point on, I started thinking, ‘OK, this is an opportunity for me to get involved in football again.

Bryan will be the varsity men’s coach, Renshaw will be the varsity women’s coach, Ken Jackson will be the varsity junior coach, and Rainie Hilson will coach the JV women’s team.

Jackson has been the JV’s head coach for the past two seasons, but this will be his first time overseeing a football program. He has relied on his father’s teachings in preparing the team.

“I learned a lot from him, but one of the things that really struck me was how prepared he was in the hour or hour and a half leading up to practice. If you have a time frame, you can get as much as you can out of your kids,” Brian said.

“There’s a certain way to his madness, and it’s stuck in my mind since I was a kid, and I’m grateful to have it available for practice now.”

Ken Jackson cherishes the time football has allowed him to spend with his sons. JJ was a Northview player when he was coaching his HA national team in the 1990s, and his father actually coached his son a few times.

When Ken became an assistant at Northview from 1998 to 2003, he helped coach JJ for the final two years of high school football, then helped coach Bryan at Northview as he began his preparation career. I was.

After six years as an assistant at Northview, Jackson took a break from football for a while.

“I have been promoted to Director of Regional Recreation Programs at the Fort Rucker Aviation Center,” explained Ken. “For the next ten years, I built an entire recreation program at Fort Rucker.”

When he retired from Fort Rucker 11 years ago, it didn’t take long for Jackson to return to Houston Academy to assist then-head football coach Jimmy Addison.

“Jimmy Addison called me and said, ‘I need a kicking coach,'” said Ken. “Brian used to work with kickers, but he got a job at Miles College as a special teams coach. 11 years since then.”

He also serves as an assistant to the HA softball team and will continue to assist in that role when time permits, working with kickers during the football season.

For now, the veteran coach is excited to return to the football sidelines and says his coaching philosophy hasn’t changed.

“No,” said Ken. “It’s still the basic foundation. Do…something they can look forward to.

In college, Ken not only played soccer, but also worked as a cross-country, track and basketball manager.

“As a result, we had four coaches barking all the time. This is what you have to do,” he said. “This is how leaders do it, and the team will be successful. Thanks to you.”

Elder Jackson also spearheaded the Wiregrass Cup, a major soccer tournament held March 3-4 at Westgate Soccer Field.

“We’ll do it during the month of March. Lay the groundwork with the team in February and then get it,” he said of the plan. “Our vision is for him to grow to a point where he will likely host 32 teams of eight teams in each division, Varsity Girls, Junior Varsity Girls, Varsity Boys, Junior Varsity Boys. am.

“If I remember correctly, there are four junior national teams, five junior national teams, five national teams, eight national teams, six national teams participating in this tournament. ”

Ken, 71, isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.

JJ has two daughters who play soccer and Ken helped them coach. Brian has two sons who are likely to be involved in sports.

“Maybe if I’m 75 and all’s been good for four years, I’ll still be coaching,” Ken said of the future.

But the immediate focus is on the approaching start of the season.

Brian Jackson said his coaching philosophy mirrored that of his father, but would implement some of his own ideas.

“We’ve taken an old-school mentality and a new-school mentality and taken elements of each and seen what worked,” Brian said. “If they act playfully silly in practice, I have no doubt a lot of old-fashioned dads will come out of me if I’m tough. I think we’re very similar…me is like a younger version of him now.

There was even talk of JJ helping HA to sideline all three Jacksons at the same time.

“JJ and Dad coached wreck soccer together for several years,” Brian said. “We’ve been discussing the possibility of getting involved with JJ, and I think it’s a potential opportunity in the future.”

Brian is just happy to have his father by his side when he goes into battle.

“Most people don’t have this opportunity, so it was a treat to be able to do this with my dad,” Brian said.

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