After helping lead his team to a district title and a postseason appearance three seasons in a row, former Paris High School soccer star and recent graduate Justin Medina is ready to take the next step in his career on the field.
Even though it was not always a sure thing, Medina still feels the blessings from the opportunity he was presented with.
“I’m going to be playing for Jacksonville College and, funny enough, this opportunity came to me when I wasn’t even looking,” Medina said. “Going into it, I was open-minded and next thing I knew everything fell into place.”
Medina and his Wildcats team were highly successful in the last three seasons. Although his senior season was cut short by the ongoing spread of COVID-19, Medina helped guide Paris to three playoff wins in his career, highlighted by a trip to the regional quarterfinals his junior year, where he and his team fell to Kilgore in a 4-2 contest. The culture, coaching, and the serious nature of both athletics and academics helped shape Medina into the player and person he is today.
“I’d first like thank Coach (Clint) Cobb for helping me throughout all my years of high school. Not only through the sport but through school too. He pushed me to do better when he took the chance on me to be the only freshman on varsity. So I always knew I couldn’t let him down. He’s my main source of motivation.”
While it seemed COVID-19 stripped Medina and many other seniors nationwide of a chance to compete in athletics again, Jacksonville College was the place to silence those notions by allowing Medina a chance to play the sport he loves for them. The private, four-year junior college in Jacksonville not only represents new life for Medina, but also the next chapter in his playing career.
“With COVID-19, I thought everything was coming at an end when my senior year got cut short,” Medina said. “But thankfully, Jacksonville College is taking a chance on me and letting me continue to do the thing I love the most. I’m forever grateful for these opportunities despite the hardships of the pandemic.”
Medina earned several all-district accolades during his days competing with the Wildcats soccer program. He collected first-team all-district honors in both his sophomore and junior seasons, while he earned all-district MVP honors his shortened senior year after scoring five goals and distributing 18 assists.