The West Coast FC got five Golden Boots in men’s soccer this year, and the most impressive of the lot was Adrian Jackson – a teenager playing against men for the first time this year.
Jackson was the striker for the Under-21 team, new to West Coast this year, and coached by veteran Paul Segovia.
The coach knew he had an exceptional talent in Jackson, and they focussed on his finish this season.
Jackson credits Segovia with changing his approach to shooting. He always possessed a good shot, and he loved to let it rip with all the force he could muster. But the coach actually worked with him on dialing down the power, to instead focus on deadly accuracy.
“It doesn’t matter how hard the ball goes into the net, as long as it goes in,” said Jackson. “You find yourself picking the corners.
“Be more of a sniper than a cannon,” is how Segovia describes his philosophy.
And snipe Jackson did. He scored 28 goals on the season, in 18 games, which not only led the under-21 league, but the entire Fraser Valley soccer league, from premier through the “beer leagues,” earning him the Golden Boot.
Jackson’s gaudy goal totals surprised even himself, especially considering that it was his first year in the league, and he was playing against young men instead of teenagers for the first time.
“The big jump up is in the physicality,” he said, noting the defenders were both stronger in physical matchups and faster than in minor soccer.
But Jackson is cat quick. His typical goal came by putting balls through the defence and darting past them for short breakaways, and a short window of opportunity.
Segovia has him thinking of shooting whenever he’s around the box.
“I taught him, when he gets in around the goal, to be greedy,” said the coach.
Segovia said he can’t remember such prolific scoring from a striker throughout his coaching career.
“At a game in Chilliwack, his goal could have been put forward as the FIFA goal of the year,” said Segovia.
He described a play where Jackson took the ball across the top of the 18-yard box, then placed a high shot over the keeper into the far top corner. Segovia remembers the opposing coach’s wowed reaction. “Unbelievable,” he said to him.
Jackson plans to be back with the same team next year, and hopes they can build on their successful campaign. He’s living at home and working with his father Greg in the television industry, on the set of the Flash series, which is “super cool” for now.
Personally, it’s been a great year to build on.
“Being a striker, you have to have confidence to put yourself in those positions to score. Confidence is huge.”
He’s going to take his talent as far as it will carry him.
“I hope to work my way to the premier, and maybe even the college soccer level,” he said.
Segovia says it will happen. Scoring ability is the rarest commodity in soccer. All teams covet it, and many will pay for it.
“He’s got good grades, and I know he can get a scholarship.”
And Jackson can still improve. He’s slight, and that lends to the quickness that startles defenders and leaves them behind. But added strength will let him keep the ball when he’s being pushed off. He also needs to work at scoring on balls in the air – he can remember only one of his goals on the year coming off a header.
“You have to learn your trade,” said Segovia. “He’s a good talent.”
Five win golden boots
There were four other Golden Boot league scoring leaders from West Coast FC:
- Jon Craig of the Westcoast FC Selects led the Premier league with 20 goals.
- Lee Higgins of Westcoast FC Inter was the top scorer in the first division with 17.
- Joe Evans of the Westcoast FC Rowdies led the Fourth Division with 27.
- Nicholas Jackson (no relation to Adrian) of the Westcoast FC Saints led the Masters division with 12.