NPSL Spotlight with Jade Johnson of Dakota Fusion FC
GoalNation spoke with NPSL Player of the Week Jade Johnson in our latest highlight interview of the award’s recipients. The winner of this national honor is determined by a vote of media members from across the country. It is awarded every week during the regular season.
“This is more of a team achievement to me than an individual accolade based off of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the past two weeks,” said Johnson. “The preparation and dedication in the offseason, as well as the sacrifices made over the best months of the year in North Dakota, is beginning to pay itself off heading into the regional playoffs this weekend.”
Johnson’s hat-trick against the Minnesota TwinStars brought his season total to 17 goals, one shy of the Golden Boot lead.
“Jade had been an integral part of our team and our success in our inaugural year with the Fusion,” said Dakota Fusion head coach Jim Robbins. “He possesses a unique combination of size, strength, speed, power, and goal scoring ability. He is very difficult to defend in 1v1 situations and he can beat defenders and score with either foot. Most teams try to double team him whenever possible, sometimes they even try to defend him with three. He has earned his place as the top goalscorer in our conference and is one of the top goal scorers in the entire NPSL.”
Johnson grew up in West Fargo, North Dakota, graduating from West Fargo High School before majoring in Computer Science and Information Technology at the University of Jamestown (ND). As part of the soccer program at UJ, Johnson was named NAIA All-American twice in his career and still holds the program record for goals scored (35), points (87) and games played (77).
Johnson is currently working full-time as an Applications Systems Specialist at Agricover Inc. as well as working part-time at the Jamestown Regional Airport.
GoalNation spoke with Johnson as we present our latest exclusive interview on the NPSL’s Mitre Player of the Week.
Diane Scavuzzo: When did you join your team?
Jade Johnson: April of this year.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you like best about your team?
Jade Johnson: The level of cultural diversity we have as a team along with the vast differences in playing backgrounds.
Diane Scavuzzo: How long have you been with your team?
Jade Johnson: Four months.
Diane Scavuzzo: How long have you played in the NPSL?
Jade Johnson: I also played the summer of 2013 with Madison 56ers.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your position?
Jade Johnson: Forward.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you like best about playing your position?
Jade Johnson: The opportunity to make a difference offensively to assist our team in achieving a victory.
Diane Scavuzzo: When did you first start playing soccer?
.Jade Johnson: 10 years old.
Diane Scavuzzo: What team did you first play for?
Jade Johnson: West Fargo Soccer Club of West Fargo, ND.
Diane Scavuzzo: Did you play or are you playing collegiate soccer? If so, what college and who was your coach?
Jade Johnson: University of Jamestown. Philip Bohn/Tommy Neinhaus were my coaches.
Diane Scavuzzo: What does it take to be an impact player?
Jade Johnson: Dedication and desire to improve as a player in all aspects of the game. The most important part of your season comes down to what you did to prepare for the season in the months leading. There will always be personal sacrifices of some sort in preparation for something you wish to achieve success in. Being able to handle adversity during the season is also a very important piece of being an impact player. If things aren’t going well, make them go well.
Diane Scavuzzo: Please tell us about your coach — what is he like to play for?
Jade Johnson: Jim is a very analytical coach. He pinpoints strong points in our opponents that he believes will bring them success against us and gears training sessions towards shutting that down. He’s willing to take chances and roll the dice when things aren’t going according to plan as well as willing to make tactical decisions to ensure success at the end of the day. He does a very good job relating to the players and carries himself with the respect and integrity needed to be very successful as a coach. It has been a pleasure to play under his role.
Diane Scavuzzo: What inspires you?
Jade Johnson: Seeing results and setting lofty goals.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are your goals as a player?
Jade Johnson: To play at the highest standard possible while keeping up with the financial demands of being fresh out of college in the working world.
Diane Scavuzzo: Do you want to play in Europe or in MLS?
Jade Johnson: Absolutely.
Diane Scavuzzo: If you could pick any super power, what would it be and why?
Jade Johnson: The ability to bring peace and happiness to the world so there’s never the risk of a canceled World Cup like during the years of WW2.
Diane Scavuzzo: Who is your favorite soccer team or player? Who do you root for behind closed doors?
Jade Johnson: I like underdog stories and a thrilling plot line to a game. I don’t have one specific team or player I root for.
Photo Credit: Dakota Fusion Photos