Jade North has travelled from Slovenia to Singapore playing soccer, and has played for Australia, South Korea, Norway and Japan.
“The will to succeed, that drive, has always been a part of me. I’ve just always wanted to play and do my best.”
Rather than playing for an international team or representing Australia at the Olympics, Jade says that his career highlight was being voted NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year.
He’s also working on a project he says he has to keep under his hat, but he says that he loves having clinics out in the bush where he teaches rural Indigenous kids how to play.
“Football can really connect with kids. Every kid that I’ve worked with, if they’re struggling or having issues or whatever, when they play with sportspeople they look up to then it brings down that barrier.”
Of all the places Jade’s travelled for soccer, which is a list of over 10 countries, he says the place he most loves to live is Queensland. He loves weekends at the Gold Coast and the beautiful weather in Brisbane, where he is currently based playing for the Brisbane Roar in the A-League.
Jade’s advice to young footballers
Make the best of the hand you’re dealt
Jade says that playing internationally isn’t always easy, and that isolation from friends and family, an inability to speak the local language and freezing temperature have created the lowest points in his life.
“You don’t get to chose where you go to, and if you don’t like it at first, you’ve got to learn to like it. Experiences like that make you mentally tougher. You’ve just got to keep turning up to training, and you’ve got to motivate yourself.”
Find good mentors
He says that he often sees the careers of young footballers stall because they follow bad advice.
“Just before they become pro or just after they can take the wrong advice off people. They’ve got to have a vision and go forwards with the advice of someone who knows the game.”
Have an escape from the game
As well as mentorship from inside the soccer world, Jade says it’s important to have a friend or family member outside the game who you can turn to for support, “It helps to get things off your chest.”
Let ambition lead you
“Always believe in yourself and follow your dreams. I have ever since I was young. You’ve got to dream, and dream big.”