By Madison Jeppson
Photo by Dave Argyle (DBA Photography)
Coach Phil Jackson once said, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” Sky View High senior Jaden Wood is the embodiment of this.
Wood started playing soccer at age five and has kept that drive and love of the game for 12 long years.
“I was better at it than any other sports, so I stuck with it,” Jaden said when asked what kept him playing soccer all of those years. “I like competition. I like how it makes me feel – accomplished. It’s a place where I can let go of my frustrations.”
Since joining the varsity team his freshman year, Wood has worked to unify the Bobcat soccer team. That unity stood the team well during its 13-5-1 season as it overcame a three-match season-ending losing streak and, topping it off, a season-ending injury to Wood in the final regular season game, to reach the 5A state semifinals.
Wood was the No. 2 goal scorer in Class 5A and led Region 1 in goals scored as well, with 16, despite missing all three postseason contests. With the hard work and long hours put in by Wood, as well as his teammates, they had hopes for a state tournament victory.
“A fierce competitor, Jaden goes tunnel when the whistle blows– he’s hyper focused,” said head coach Doyle Geddes. “The team appreciates his competitive drive, and that’s why he is a captain. He only has one speed and that’s all out overdrive.”
The Bobcats players have become brothers on and off the field.
“Most of my teammates and I have played together since we were 10 so we are really good friends on and off the field,” Wood said. “We have a good bond between us.”
Wood has become a giant on and off the field. However easy he may make it appear, it has been a long road leading him where he stands today. Jaden injured his anterior cruciate ligament before the start of the 2015 season and required surgery, putting him in a difficult situation with a long recovery ahead.
“I’ve never seen anybody work harder to have something taken away and get it back,” Geddes said. “Some kids wouldn’t come back from that. Not only did Jaden come back, it made him hungrier.”
As far as Wood was concerned, the injury gave him a sense of gratitude for the things he has in his life.
“With my surgery last year, it made me realize how lucky I was to be playing,” Wood said. “It showed me how much I loved it and I took it for granted before. My coaches have helped me improve. My mom and dad have been my coaches for most of my life. I owe a lot to those guys.”
Wood’s plans after high school are to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, further his education and play soccer for Salt Lake Community College.
“His focus extends beyond the soccer field,” Geddes said. “He has a plan for his life and is very determined to see it through. There’s always something out there he is reaching for.”
There is little doubt that the Sky View soccer team performed because of the hard work and brotherhood it carried onto the field.
Sky View High student Madison Jeppson wrote this story as part of the Preps Utah student journalism program, powered by Bank of American Fork, which will award two of our published student journalists college scholarships at the end of the school year.