UC Santa Cruz’s Jackson Zabierek

To Jackson Zabierek, the rugby pitch was a classroom and the game itself was the teacher. He credits the game of rugby to motivating him to become a better student and to work harder. Simply put, he says the lessons he has learned from the game have been invaluable to his young rugby career. 

“The role rugby’s played in my life was that of a teacher. It taught me how to tackle, how to run hard, and how to play many different positions, but mostly it taught me how to conduct myself on and off the field. In reality, it’s very simple. Play with heart and an extreme competitive nature but play with respect. With this simple lesson in mind, it gave me the tools I needed to succeed both on and off the field,” said Zabierek. 

He has four years of rugby experience under his belt and played for the Marin Highlanders Rugby Club. In his four-year career, he has played both 15s and 7s and appeared in a variety of positions on the pitch. 

“Jackson is a player who led by example. His commitment to the club, unconditional effort in training and games, positivity and belief in himself and his teammates was instrumental in the success of our team in 2019. He was our #8, captain of the forwards, and voted MVP of the forward pack. He was also our best loose head prop and would play there when we were trying to get other players in the lineup. He is one of the most coachable players on the team,” said Sean Silveira, Marin Highlanders Head Coach. 

He was a graduate of Terra Linda High School with a 3.2 grade point average. At Terra Linda, Jackson was involved in multiple clubs and sports on campus, including lacrosse, and track and field. He was a four-year member of the Terra Linda High School football team and served as captain in both his junior and senior years. He helped lead his team to their most successful seasons in recent years and earned All-League Player and All-Metro honors. He was also an active participant in his local Catholic church’s parish youth council for three years, assisting with the friendship club helping kids with disabilities. 

He will continue his athletic and academic career at the University of California Santa Cruz. He intends to work toward a career in social work and would like to continue to help kids find their way in life. He credits rugby to helping him find his purpose and hence leading him to his new role with UC Santa Cruz Men’s Rugby. 

“Mr. Zabierek has already exhibited a level of commitment and maturity from someone that I expect to become a leader of the team. He understands that earning a place in the club’s top team as a freshman will be challenging, given that we are returning 21 players from last season’s A side. However, based on his work effort and talent I have little doubt he will take one of those jerseys. I believe he has the ability to make an immediate impact on the Pacific West Rugby Conference,” said UC Santa Cruz Men’s Rugby Head Coach, Jeremy Sanford. 

Jackson’s rugby goal is to continue to play the game right; with respect, confidence, and heart. He intends to strive to help lead his team to a Pacific West Rugby Conference Championship. Upon his collegiate career, he would like to continue to play rugby as long as possible and envisions a future in coaching!