In His Words: Switchbacks Jamal Jack

    A conversation with the Switchbacks FC hard-working center defender Jamal Jack.

    Photo by Allison Daniell Moix

    You don’t want to go one-on-one on the field against the Switchbacks hard-working center defender Jamal Jack. But we sat down off the field with the 30-year-old Trinidad and Tobago international, who joined the team this season from the USL’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds FC.

    On his passion for soccer

    My whole family played the game. It’s in my blood; it’s in my genes. My older brother was good. He represented the country and our family [on the Trinidad and Tobago national team]. I wanted to be better than him. I also represented my country on the national team and made my village proud. I’m still making everyone proud, my family and friends.

    On scoring versus defending

    I’m a defender first. I’m protecting my house, which is the goal—I don’t want anyone to break into my house. But any time I get a chance to go up for a corner or a free kick, I try to get my head on the ball and put it between the uprights [as he did for the April Switchbacks Goal of the Month against Reno].

    On Trinidad and Tobago’s 2017 victory that sealed elimination of the U.S. men’s national team from 2018 World Cup qualifying (Jack was not part of that game.)

    The next day when I walked into the locker room [in Pittsburgh], everyone was looking at me like, What really happened last night? Coach was like, “You guys kicked us out.” I was like, “You remember how Trinidad was about to go to the World Cup [in 1989] and wanted a draw?” That game was in Trinidad, and the U.S. won 1-0. I say “Payback time.” He laughed and said, “It’s 1-1 now.”

    On finding ingredients in Colorado Springs for his favorite Caribbean meal

    For about two weeks, I looked in the grocery for Browning, a sauce we put in the pot to season our stewed chicken and make it turn color. I asked the manager, and he looked and looked. Then I saw they brought it in, so I bought five at one time because I didn’t know when they were going get it again. I was like, relief—Yes, I can do my favorite thing now.

    Find the schedule to see Jamal Jack and the Switchbacks play: switchbacksfc.com

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