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My University Football Experience: Liam Jackson

After a successful year for Men’s Football was bought to a premature end due to all sport being suspended captain Liam Jackson reflects on his time as part of Team Sunderland

Throughout my last 4 years at University of Sunderland, without a doubt one of the highlights of my time here has been my experience with the football team.

As many know, the most recent year has been one of the most successful years for the University regarding the football team, finishing the season as league and cup winners while only suffering one defeat all season.

The last year has been a phenomenal experience that I encourage anyone to get involved with, regardless of how good and skilled you may be.

Despite the success we’ve had recently my previous years have not been as prosperous, though this would not mean that I would not advise against anyone getting involved with football at the University of Sunderland.

My very first year was an enjoyable and insightful year, and if not for the success that we had in my fourth year, my first year may have been my best and most entertaining year.

I was only learning the structure and how things worked within the club and football itself, but it was a learning experience that brought much excitement.

A highlight of my first year was when we reached the second round of the cup and ended up playing against a development education academy based in Manchester.

The match was played outside the Etihad Stadium (which we actually had to walk through to reach the pitch), which was the same pitch used during the 2002 Commonwealth games. This is still one of the highs of my university life, a game which we ended up winning 3-1 in extra time.

Shortly during my first year, I knew I made the right choice joining the football team, instantly recognising the closeness of the club that is illustrated not only on the pitch but outside it as well.

This bond continued throughout every year at university, making many and more friends each year. Joining the football team, or even a club in general, is a fantastic way to get involved within the university social life while also playing a sport at the same time.

My following years equally had exceptional moments, with far too many to even single out and explain.

As stated earlier, while the last few years have been tremendous, there have also been a few lows. While there will be highs, winning tough games, walking over some teams and feeling as if you’re flying, there will be times where the opposite will occur.  

My third year personally was not as good as my other years, simply on the basis that I had suffered a bad knee injury that caused me to sit out for nearly four months. While I sat out from the football itself, this did not sever me from the club specifically, which goes to show that joining the football team is not specifically only about the football, but also the community spirit.

While my third year was the lowest one of my years at University, this was redeemed through my fourth and final year in a way that I couldn’t have imagined prior to the start of the season.

My university football experience has been a pleasurable and entertaining experience. My final year, as captain, has been a near bittersweet feeling. This season has been amazing and the success we achieved has near been unprecedented for the university, which brings me joy to think of the success we managed, but also disappointed in that it is my final year completed.

In saying this I can only wish the best to the team and the club for the future years, hoping that more success will come. I say this with confidence though as witnessing this year and the foundations put in place, I can only see the university and the football team moving forward triumphantly.