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Freeport keeper Naomi Jackson leaves an All-American legacy

Jackson only allowed two goals the entire season and led the team to its first sectional appearance since 2012.
Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 10:39 PM CDT
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FREEPORT, Ill. (WIFR) - “It’s kind of like a surreal moment in my head to be able to be like, ‘I am the best goal keeper in the state,’” said Freeport senior goalkeeper Naomi Jackson.

Although the humble keeper Jackson didn’t expect it, everyone else on her soccer team did. She now holds an All-American honor. Head coach Nick Namio says he knew Jackson was a special pretzel when she earned the starting keeper position as a freshman.

“He called me, and he was like, ‘Oh, you didn’t get all-state, but you were All-American,’ and then it was just a real big celebration,” Jackson said. “My parents were in the room. We were all yelling and everything.”

Jackson only allowed two goals the entire season and led the team to its first sectional appearance since 2012.

“Our defense knows that if the other team doesn’t get a great shot, there’s no way it’s going to go in, and that’s how the season went this year,” Namio said.

This season, the pretzels held a 15-1 record. Even though the team fell short of capturing the sectional title, players still remember this season as one of the best.

“We didn’t have any chance to practice losing or how to recover from that, so it was a little bit painful, but all we have are great memories of the season and everything that Naomi and the team has done has just been outstanding,” Namio said.

Jackson leaves behind a legacy of being the best keeper in Freeport history. She’ll kick the ball a few hours down the road to the University of Illinois to play Division I soccer. This fall, she will once again fight for the starting keeper position as an incoming freshman.

“I just want to be able to experience college soccer and be able to feel how it feels in practice and how they all play their speed of game play,” Jackson said. “I’m just excited to be able to see what that all feels like.”

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