Barrington High School boasts soccer All-American

Jackson Bennett among the top 60 players in the country

By Josh Bickford
Posted 2/25/21

Barrington High School senior Jackson Bennett was recently selected All American in soccer.

But his standout season and the impressive post-season award that followed almost never …

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Barrington High School boasts soccer All-American

Jackson Bennett among the top 60 players in the country

Posted

Barrington High School senior Jackson Bennett was recently selected All American in soccer.

But his standout season and the impressive post-season award that followed almost never happened.

Just one week into the season, Jackson wanted to quit the team. The multi-year starter for the BHS boys varsity soccer team said he had grown frustrated with some of the rules and restrictions state officials had considered building into the game — there was talk of prohibiting headers, throw-ins and other parts of high school soccer, due to concerns over Covid-19.

Jackson talked to his mom, and, thankfully, she convinced him to return to the team.

The stellar defensive player quickly became a team leader — he was named captain and helped the Eagles earn a playoff berth. Jackson said he is very happy he decided to continue playing for the Eagles last fall. He said it turned out to be a very special season for him and his teammates.

“I love those guys. It’s the best group of guys,” he said. “We played every game like it was our last game.”

About a month after the season ended, the United Soccer Coaches Association announced its All American selections. On the list for the top 60 high school soccer players in the United States was Jackson Bennett. He was one of only three defenders to make the list, and he was the only player from Rhode Island to earn the distinction this season.

Barrington High School boys soccer coach Don Denham said he was very happy to learn Jackson was named All American.

“It’s something he deserved,” Coach Denham said. “I think it’s awesome they recognized the work of a defender…”

Coach Denham said the All American honors are typically heaped on goal-scorers and goal-keepers. Rarely does a defender earn the recognition. Jackson’s contributions to the Eagles’ defense helped the team become one of the best in the state for goals-against. He is a strong player who never loses an air battle, said his coach, and has good confidence with the ball at his feet.

Jackson’s performance on the pitch also allowed Coach Denham to play just three defenders and shift one more player to the attack.

“He’s the reason why I felt confident playing three defenders,” Coach Denham said.

“Most teams play four defenders, we played three,” said Jackson. “It’s good to know he trusted me.”

The BHS coach said Jackson is a hard-worker and takes his game very seriously. Coach Denham said Jackson is self-motivated and intense, and many times serves as a coach on the field, leading the team and inspiring his teammates to play even better.

“He makes your job (as a coach) a lot easier,” Coach Denham said. “He makes you want to coach.”

Jackson was one of four soccer players from Rhode Island to be named All New England, and he is currently in the running for Gatorade Player of the Year for Rhode Island.

Coach Denham said that Jackson excels far beyond the soccer field. He is also a standout All-State swimmer for Barrington High School and a leader in the classroom. Coach Denham said he believes Jackson could become a solid college soccer player,.

“I’ve had long conversations with him, he has college potential,” Coach Denham said. “His grades are phenomenal. He’s got the key. It’s up to him now.”

Jackson has not yet decided where to go to college in the fall, but is leaning toward playing a sport wherever he ends up. He said he might end up swimming or playing soccer. Jackson is even considering playing football this spring, during the special Fall II high school sports season.

“I’ve always wanted to be a kicker too,” Jackson said. “Just for fun.”

When football was shifted to the Fall II season, which starts this week, it allowed Jackson to play both soccer and football. He said he has already talked to the BHS football coach Sandy Gorham, who also serves as the swim team coach. Jackson said he has connected on some 50-yard field goals while practicing at the high school football field.

In addition, Jackson also competes for the Barrington High School outdoor track team in the spring — he is an all-division pole vaulter.

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