Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
Jackson Takes National Honor
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 07/07/2016
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MOSCOW, Idaho –Laura Jackson has been recognized by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) as one of the top young coaches in the country, earning a spot in this year’s prestigious “30 Under 30” program.

"It's an amazing honor to be recognized by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America as one of the top young coaches in the country,” Jackson said.  “I look forward to using this opportunity to help teach and learn from others across the nation as I continue to develop as a coach and as a person.

"There are so many people that have helped me get to this point.  I'd like to thank all those that have helped me through this process, especially Derek Pittman and Josh Davis, and of course the incredible players that I have been able to work with during my time at Idaho. The beautiful game of soccer has given me a lot and I'm looking forward to be able to give a little bit back."

The 30 Under 30 program recognizes the top young coaches in the nation, selecting 30 total coaches, male and female, from across the competitive spectrum.  Collegiate, junior college and club coaches are all represented on the final list, making the recognition incredibly difficult to achieve.

“I’m extremely happy and proud for Laura to get the opportunity to be included in the NSCAA 30 Under 30 program,” said head coach Derek Pittman.  “She is an up-and-coming coach that is very hard working and deserving of this honor.  She is a tremendous asset to our program here at Idaho and is always seeking ways to improve herself.  This opportunity will really help her in her growth as a coach as well as benefit all of us as a part of Vandal soccer.”

Jackson returns for her fourth season with the Vandals in 2016.  Last season, Jackson helped lead the Vandals to their best season in program history, winning the Big Sky Regular Season Championship and hosting the Big Sky Tournament.

The Vandals excelled last season under their new formation.  The squad improved its win total by 10 games, the largest turnaround in the nation.  The team set program records for goals, assists, points and shutouts.  In all, eight Vandals earned All-Big Sky accolades, including five first-teamers.

Jackson came to Idaho for the 2013 season after finishing her collegiate eligibility at Iona College.  Jackson earned her master’s degree in Neuroscience from the University of Idaho in May of 2015 and is currently working toward her PhD in Sports Psychology.  Prior to Idaho, Jackson earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Iona.

In two seasons with the Gaels, Jackson earned back-to-back All-MAAC selections, was named to the all-tournament team as a senior in 2012 and was voted a team captain.  Jackson began her collegiate career at Syracuse, starting 18-of-19 games as a freshman before transferring to Iona.  She also played softball for the Gaels in 2013.

The program, launched in 2013, is a year-long education and mentorship opportunity for a select few up-and-comers who have made soccer coaching their career of choice.  The program was created to support fledgling coaches and foster their growth at a crucial point in their vocation.

The Vandals get the season started on August 19 at South Dakota.  Idaho will return home to take on Grand Canyon on August 21.

Fans can stay up-to-date on all things Idaho soccer by following the team on Twitter and Instagram, @VandalsSoccer, or on Facebook by searching Idaho Vandals Women’s Soccer.

For more information on Idaho Athletics, visit GoVandals.com.  Fans can also find Idaho on Twitter and Instagram, @Idaho_Vandals, or on Facebook by searching Idaho Vandals.