Haynes faces setback to a major comeback

More often than not, occupational injuries mark the end of an athlete’s career, forcing them into early retirement. However, this is not the case for Diamond Bar High School senior Jackson Haynes; to him, a sprained ankle is just another obstacle to overcome in his journey to professional soccer.

Through hard work and dedication, Haynes is determined to make a speedy recovery and rejoin his fellow teammates on both the DBHS soccer team and his club team, Legends FC—a soccer club committed to fostering player development at a national level.

“During 2020, [my club team and I] went to North Carolina, where we went undefeated in the playoffs,” Haynes said. “In our league, we were placed 34th nationally, and [that] was probably one of our best achievements in the last several years.”

Haynes, who was recently named MVP and captain of the DBHS soccer team, fell in love with the sport at the age of five. Since then, he’s spent the past seven years developing his skills as a defensive midfielder, which controls the flow of the game through passing ability and game awareness.

“What I enjoy most about playing soccer has to be the competitive spirit,” Haynes said. “It is like every game is a battle, and you are just trying to come in on top.”

Even with devotion to the sport, his road to recovery has not been easy.

“I sprained my ankle three weeks ago. So, I was in a cast for a week and a boot for a week,” Haynes said. “That impacted me because I lost my endurance, and just being away from the sport for two and a half weeks, I can definitely feel where my endurance is lacking.”

Following his injury, Haynes was hopeful he would be able to play in the highly anticipated game against Walnut High School. However, he soon found out that his injury was more serious than he had initially thought, as he was struggling to even walk.

“[I have to] make sure I stay up-to-date with the different exercises and try to get my ankle back to the way it was before,” he said. “It is really just all about rehab and recovery just to try to strengthen it up again.”

At times, when Haynes felt frustrated about his situation, he had to remind himself of his motivations to keep pushing through.

“My motivation has been really just to hold myself to the highest standard possible, and try to give 110 percent effort each time I step onto the field either for practice or for games,” he said. “I pride myself in giving full effort for everything I do.”

Even when held up with an injury and powering through the pain of practice, Haynes has learned to balance his recovery with his training for both teams.

“If you practice the wrong thing, you would not be able to get better at the thing you are really trying to improve on,” he said. “If you practice the right way, you would see enormous improvements.”

As of now, Haynes is looking forward to recovering from his injury and playing soccer with his teammates once again.

“My main goal right now is just to play college soccer at a high level,” he said. “I plan to work hard, on and off the field, I plan to perform well in games and I plan to put myself in the best situation possible to be able to have the best opportunities possible.”