From Christchurch United To Professional Footballer | Jackson Brady

Player Pathway Club
Hi my name is Jackson Brady I played for Memphis 901 in the USL Championship
which is the second division in America in the 2022 season.  I was originally a Christchurch boy, I grew up in Christchurch and played for Christchurch United in 2019 which is my most recent Club in New Zealand.

I was in the states, playing for Cal Poly California polytechnics at division one school and came back to New Zealand for my summer break and I was looking at what clubs I wanted to play for.  Danny Halligan reached out and asked me if I wanted to play for Christchurch United, I came and took a look around at the field and realized it was quite a professional. I trained three or four times a week at that point so it was something that I was really looking forward to coming back and playing for and improving.

I decide to play for Christchurch United for about 10 games, it was actually cut short as I was selected for the New Zealand u23s where we went and played at the Pacific games against all the island teams,  it's sort of like a mini Olympics in preparation for the the main Olympics.

One thing learnt whilst playing at Christchurch United was coming in and adapting to our new coach, having Danny Halligan there, you have to adapt really fast, figure out the playing style that he wants you to play and push on from there. I remember we were in the running for the
Chatham cup, we went away to Melville United and that was a big learning curve,  it was a really tough game, we had to sit deep and hope to get them on the counter because there were a bit of a team than us, that was kind of the main learning curve just adapting and continuing to improve.

One of my football passions and makes me want to turn up every day, is having a good pitch, having a pitch that's not bobbly and I get frustrated with myself if I take a bad touch if the pitch is bad or the balls are flat or something like that's kind of a bit of a pet hate for me, so coming to United Sports Centre, you know that the standards going to be higher because the pitch is good. The Field's good, there's good players around you and that drives me on to improve and want to turn up every day

When I hear the word discipline I think its definitely a loose thing, everyone has their own sort of different discipline.  There was a quote that someone talked to me at one point, I'm not sure where it was in my journey, but they said if you think you're doing enough, you're probably not and that that kind of stuck with me.  Whenever I think "oh and I've done enough this week or I've done enough today" Someone else is probably doing more than me somewhere and if I want to reach my goals,  I have to work harder than everyone around.

Growing up I was invited to camps for the u-17s and u20 New Zealand World Cup teams, but never actually made the final Squad which was pretty fair to be honest but keeping my head down and keeping working hard and eventually getting called in to to go to the Pacific games and playing there was a real privilege for me and something that is a big milestone for me putting on the New Zealand Jersey and getting amongst it was pretty emotional experience.

Our U23s captain was Logan Rogerson, he's played professionally for quite a few years now, I think he started at the Wellington Phoenix and he was a real professional.  He looked in his discipline like I talked about earlier was very professional, he would be down in the gym when people are still sleeping, he'd be foam rolling hours before training, stretching getting his mind right, so he was ticking all the boxes and seeing him and realizing that there's a lot more to the game than just putting your boots on, there's a lot you got to do beforehand.

Playing Pro, there's a lot of responsibilities, what you do off the field is so scrutinized and people are looking at you all around the public so you definitely have an image to uphold for the club and then in terms of being on the field, you have to eat right, look after your body, stretch, foam rolling the night before training session, it's not just something that you turn up to the game on the weekend and all of a sudden now you start taking care of yourself, it's something that you're doing every single day and you can't have an off day.  People are there to tell you and so it's just something that it's really is full time.

US College System
I'm a big advocate for the college system, especially for players that are in Christchurch and playing at national league level, it's a good place to go out there and get experience. It's a good level and there's different divisions, but playing in the NCAA division one is is definitely a good level, it's a full-time program and being able to study and getting School paid for is a big help as well, once you end up finish playing soccer it's definitely something to be able to fall back on and progress and really find a good point from about 18 to 22 years old to kick on and keep improving and see where you can go.

Advice For Christchurch United Academy Players
If you want to go to college, there's classes you have to take throughout high school to be eligible, so knowing that I was fortunate enough that someone told me that early on so there's certain classes you have to take in English, you have to take maths, you have to take social studies and all of this to be academically eligible and then obviously having good grades, as well to meet the NCAA requirements but as you're it nearing the end of your high school, reaching out to colleges or or using an agency to reach out to these colleges for a year and getting film on yourself and start speaking to colleges, so when it comes to the fall after your senior year at high school that you can have opportunities, you have scholarships and you can go over.

Why Join Christchurch United?
United Sports Centre has developed a lot since I've been away, I haven't been in New Zealand in three years, these facilities are so good, getting as much time as you can get on the ball is is so important you want to be at a club that's training full time, having access to the facilities when you want and being able to get on here and getting touches on the ball is important and then obviously having good coaches around and good management you want to be coached by the best and that's really important

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