Senior Spotlight: Jackson ten Oever


Beatrice Larkin, People Editor

Poly Senior Jackson ten Oever is committed to Columbia University and will be playing on the men’s soccer team. Ten Oever has excelled in soccer throughout high school, playing on Metropolitan Oval in Queens. “I started playing soccer competitively at around seven years old.” Ten Oever elaborates on how he discovered his passion for soccer: “your parents make you do everything like karate and swimming, and I just liked soccer the most. And it’s lucky because my parents both played soccer when they were younger so they encouraged me to pursue that passion.” 

Ten Oever describes how he began attaining success in the sport at various levels. “I was pretty good at it, so I kept advancing and advancing. And there’s always that one day where you take a look back at it. At nine years old, my parents said ‘you’re pretty good at this, let’s try to take it to the next level’.” Evidently, the decision to continue advancing in soccer paid off. Ten Oever describes the time he started to understand he wanted to pursue soccer seriously: “Nine years old was when I knew this was something I wanted to do.”

While now it is easy to look back on, it was not always a seamless journey for ten Oever. He spent a year away from Poly at Professional Children’s School, experimenting with what it would be like to structure his time differently surrounding soccer and school during the pandemic. “The team I was playing for at the time, they almost tried to eliminate school, and I was training twice a day in the middle of the day. So the only time I could be in class was either really early on, or really late. It doesn’t work like that at Poly, and I don’t expect it to work like that. It was an interesting experience, but it wasn’t for me,” said Ten Oever. Ten Oever said a pitfall of playing club soccer so seriously was that he could not play for the soccer team at Poly. He elaborates, “It’s something I kind of regretted as a senior. I have never been able to play for Poly because of how club soccer [works] in America. It has really been frustrating for me because I would have loved to play for the school and represent them, but I think in the long run it is probably a better decision for me to do what I did because it gave me a better platform for college.” 

When asked about a typical game routine, Ten Oever discussed one particular game against Toronto FC. “We usually fly out like two days before the game, pretty early on. When we got there, I was playing music the whole time. You get to the hotel and get your roommate, you do training (light) before the game. The next day is game day, I always have a light breakfast. I don’t want to eat too much before a game,” he said. He continued to discuss his pre-game habits, “some people are the other way around, they eat a lot: they want to be fueled. I am just too nervous to eat. It is a good [type of] nervous, if I’m not that nervous I know something’s wrong with me.” 

Ten Oever explained that once he gets to the field, he is focused. “When I get to the field, the music is done, my phone’s off, and I just kind of sit in place and think. I visualize the game and what I want to do. I am the captain so I get to make a little speech.” While he has clearly perfected his routine, ten Oever described how his mood after depends on the outcome of the game: “if we lose I’m not talking to anyone. If we win, I’m on top of the world and I’m talking to everyone.” 

Ten Oever reminisced on one of his favorite memories playing soccer. He shared, “I really love it when my family gets to watch me play. Especially my grandparents who don’t get to see me as much as I would have liked. When I played in Philadelphia, my grandparents from my mom’s side came to watch the game. It had been the first time I’d seen them in a while because of COVID. And it was really great, them seeing me do something I love. Them seeing me in that environment made me really proud of what I’ve done. I was really happy.” 

While Ten Oever has been incredibly successful throughout his years of playing soccer, this success has most definitely come with hard work and some sacrifice. “It’s hard to accept the fact that I can’t go hang out with people from school, I can’t go to that game because I have to go play a random game. It’s a sacrifice we all have to make, and I think a lot of people can relate to that.” said ten Oever.

Ten Oever’s excitement was evident when speaking about his upcoming season at Columbia. “I am excited about college in general, but I’ve got a lot of buddies in the Ivy League that I’ve played with over the years. I really want to compete against them again because I am usually on their team, and competing against them is going to be great. Especially on that kind of stage, it elevates it even more.” We wish Jackson the best of luck in his collegiate athletic endeavors.