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Former soccer star chases Olympic dreams

For 2010 graduate Jared Clugston, being an athlete has always come naturally. 

In high school he tested the waters of many sports including soccer, football, lacrosse and track. Heading into his college years though, Clugston decided to pursue soccer full-time. This endeavor led Clugston to earn a spot on the championship men’s team at Messiah and go on to capture three national titles as a goalkeeper. 

“Playing soccer at Messiah helped me develop a great mental competitiveness and taught me to always try my best and work hard,” says Clugston. 

Those core values are now helping Clugston take his athletic career even further. 

This fall, he was selected to be one of eight members of United States World Cup Bobsledding Team and is now competing to earn a spot in the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. 

What started as curiosity about the sport has now become Clugston’s full-time pursuit.  As a criminal justice major at Messiah he was always interested in law enforcement and originally planned to pursue a career with the U.S. Marshal Service.  However, as life works sometimes, there was a different plan in store. 

It all started at Messiah when a friend suggested to Clugston that he might be a good fit for bobsledding. Intrigued by the comment, he began researching the sport to see how he could get involved. 

After learning of try-outs that would soon take place in Lake Placid, New York, he decided to go for it. “Going to the trials gave me something else to push for,” says Clugston. “I love to push the limits, try new things and experience new aspects of life.” 

With no prior experience in bobsledding, Clugston competed in three rounds of try-outs that lasted two weeks. After placing remarkably well, coaches saw great potential and invited him to hold a permanent spot on the World Cup team as a push athlete. Athletes are chosen for this position based on strength and speed. As the name suggests, a push athlete, or brakeman in the four-man races, is responsible for getting the team off to an explosive start with the initial push of the sleigh and then slowing it down at the end of the race. 

Not only is the sport itself a new adventure to him, the training needed for his position is new as well. Clugston says, “In soccer I was always training for endurance, but now as a push athlete I train for strength and explosiveness.” 

As a member of the team Clugston will compete in both two-man and four-man races throughout the United States, Canada and Europe for the next three years with the goal of reaching the prestigious Olympics games in 2014. After that Clugston says he will re-evaluate his plans and see if he wants to continue for another four years. 

“Six months ago I never dreamed I would be doing this,” says Clugston. “But this is where God took me. As for the future—it’s all up to him.” 

Story by Erin (Kriner) Bray `10. Photo courtesy of Jared Clugston `10.

One Response to “Former soccer star chases Olympic dreams”

  1. Verslo Akademija Says:

    GO, Jared Clugston!!!