2012 was a memorable year for Jack Pounce. Not only did he captain England Schoolboys U18, he also committed to a full scholarship at Saint Peters University in New Jersey.
Jack returned home to England for his 3 month summer break, and was kind enough to answer some of our questions on his first year.
2012 was a big year for you with A-Level studies, USA/UK Univeristy applications and of course playing for your country. What was your highlight of the international season? The highlight of my international career was getting the opportunity to lift the Centenary Shield in front of our home crowd at the Amex Arena (Brighton & Hove Albion F.C). This could not have happened without the confidence the managerial team had in me to lead England, and without the hard work my teammates supported me with. I owe all of them a huge amount of credit.
When did you decide you wanted to pursue a scholarship in the USA? A friend of mine had just signed up with Pass4soccer around October time and was bragging about how amazing the American life would be, making me extremely jealous. And each day that went past I thought more and more about how life changing the experience would be. After a week of deep thinking, I finally understood that this was what I was meant to do in order to pursue my dream of becoming a professional footballer.
What was the highlight of your Freshman (1st) year? I had an incredible Freshman year, and I'm thoroughly grateful for Saint Peters to give this opportunity. I have two main highlights from the past year, one sporting and one academic. My sporting highlight was beating Seton Hall 3-1 in our opening game of the season where I was involved in all three of our goals. They are a Big East side, making them a tough opposition and the game was played in front of a loud 3000 fans. My academic highlight was achieving a 3.8 GPA in my spring semester, giving me the confidence to take on a 2nd major in either marketing or sports management as well as my Graphic Design degree.
What is the biggest adjustment from UK soccer to US college soccer? The biggest adjustment would have to be their physical strength. The American philosophy is to be very fit and athletic. Over here in England you can get away with just technical skill, but in America, fitness and physical attributes are essential.
How have you coped with the academic demands placed on you by the University? Off the field, I have been very successful with my studies. However, this is not just because the American education is easier than the English, but through hard work ethic and a good management of time.
How often do you drop into New York City given that you are so near? It is amazing to have NYC as my playground. 10 minutes on the train and I'm in the heart of the most famous city in the world. There is an endless list of things I can do in Manhattan so I go in 3 or 4 times a month, if not more. I have a very busy schedule at university but when I get free time, it is often spent going into the city, even if it's only to get an ice cream! From the fourth floor of our student centre we have a gym with treadmills looking over the Manhattan skyline so you will often find me running on them for hours just taking in the amazing view at night.
What are your plans for after you graduate from Saint Peters? After I graduate I am focussing on finding a good standard of professional football wherever it will take me. I am happy to play across the world in order to achieve that life long dream. However, this is only my short term goal until my early thirties. After this I will look to use my two degrees, that I will have hopefully graduated with, and become a sports product designer. That will be my perfect job, combining my sports knowledge and artistic flare into one.