The Worcester Polytechnic Institute men’s soccer team is on a roll, with Reading’s Jackson Conroy a pivotal piece in their success. At 10-2-4 overall and 4-0-2 in league play, the Engineers sit in a tie with Babson atop the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference.
“What’s special about this year is that Jackson has emerged as one of our strongest leaders. He, along with his fellow captains, are keeping our team focused, motivated, and disciplined,” WPI coach Brian Kelley said. “Jackson is our most complete player and he showcases his wide range of talent in the central midfield.”
“We have been able to attract the top players from Massachusetts, New England, and beyond and Jackson continues to represent our region and WPI soccer very well.”
Conroy, a 2016 Reading High School graduate, leads WPI in scoring and is tied for sixth in the NEWMAC with six goals and three assists. He caught up with the Globe for this week’s Campus Angle.
How did you get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters, what’s your favorite part about having a little brother?
I got involved with it through a couple guys on the team. My favorite part is the kids. My guy’s name is Cleatis, he’s from Ghana. He’s had a bit of struggles in life, and it’s really nice to just make an impact on his day. Every time I show up, you can tell his mood rises and it’s one of the best hours of my week.
You’ve made it to the NCAA Division 3 Tournament once, but have yet to win. Is it important for you to make a statement in the postseason?
Yeah, that’s the goal. I think we’d be really disappointed if we didn’t. The group that we have has worked so hard this year, and we really don’t think anyone’s better than us this year. We really have aspirations just bigger than one game. We hope to be playing in December when the finals are going on.
Q. Can you explain your WPI Project, “Holistic Retirement Programming for Victorian Emergency Service Workers,” that you did in Melbourne, Australia last year?
A. That project is called the Interactive Qualifying Project, it’s like the junior year project that all WPI students are required to complete. We worked with an organization called the Emergency Services Foundation. They worked with fire, police, ambulance. We worked with them on developing retirement programming to help with mental health issues the workers have when they retire with the difficult nature of their job.
Some of the challenges that they face when they’re working, when they go in retirement, [sometimes] these guys really struggle. This programming was aimed to make their lives easier. That project was out of my major, just to get some skills with interviewing, social skills. It’s just an amazing experience being in Melbourne, speaking with those people that do so much for you, and trying to give back to them any way you can.
Q. What was the most interesting part about going abroad?
A. We were abroad for about two months. I’d say the most interesting part was talking to new people and experiencing a new place. Australia is a beautiful country. We were hiking, surfing, swimming, doing everything we could out there just to see a different place. It was really fascinating.
Q. What is the process of your project — Improving U.S. Foster Care Service Allocation — like for this year?
A. That’s the major qualifying project, the senior project that’s within your major. So, I’m an industrial engineer. We’re working with the foster care system on developing a model that reduces the time that children spend in the system.
Q. Who or what inspired you to care so much about the well-being of others?
A. I don’t know if there was any certain person. My parents had a big impact, certain coaches. Just in general, doing things is so much more impactful when they help others. And with a school project or an organization, you can change someone else’s life or make it better, it helps you and it helps them, so why not?
Q. You’ve scored more goals this year than in your first three years combined. Why?
A. We have a mature group. I think we have 10 seniors on the team. Everyone’s comfortable playing with each other. Everyone knows that they’ve got to do their job this year. I’ve come to play. It’s everyone together, really.
Q. What are your favorite sports teams?
A. I’m a New England guy, so Pats, Red Sox, Celtics. I’m an Arsenal fan in the Premier League.
Q. If anybody could play you in a movie, who would you choose?
Probably Matt Damon I guess, a Boston guy. Got to stay local.
Q. Choose a super power?
A. I guess I’d pick super speed because, I don’t know, you can get anywhere you wanted.
Greg Levinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.