• 2016 NAIDOC Awards Sportsperson of the year, Jade North. (Event Photos Australia)
An Olympian and two time A-League championship winner, Aboriginal soccer star Jade North has been kicking goals both on and off the field.
By
Karina Marlow

8 Jul 2016 - 10:15 PM  UPDATED 9 Jul 2016 - 12:24 AM

Born in Taree of the Biripi Mob from New South Wales, Jade lived in New Zealand until the age of 11 and then returned to live in Brisbane with his family. It was there that he visited the Rochedale Rovers’ sports complex and for the first time knew he wanted to play professionally.

“They were the biggest and best club in Brisbane at the time, everything seemed so professional…  I was only 12 but I knew then I wanted to be a professional footballer,” Jade told Football Australia.

He signed on under the guidance of Kieran Cooper, a former striker for Brisbane City, and honed his soccer skills in a competitive under-16s side. At the age of just 15 he was offered a place with the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.

Jade’s breakthrough came at the 1999 FIFA Under-17s World Championship where he played every game as a defender. The competition saw Australia through to the Grand Final where they lost to Brazil on penalties.

He then joined the Brisbane Strikers as one of the youngest players in the National Soccer League (NSL). As part of Sydney Olympic’s 2001-02 squad he won the NSL championship and later moved on to Perth Glory where he again secured the top spot in the 2003-04 competition. 

Jade made his Olympic debut in the 2004 Athens Games playing every match of the campaign. As an under-23 player, his impressive form helped secure the team a seventh place finish and ensure him a total of 41 caps with the Socceroos including a return performance at the 2008 Beijing Games. In 2008, he became the first ever Aboriginal Socceroos captain for their 0-0 draw with Singapore.

With the National Soccer League reborn as the Hyundai A-League, Jade was poached by the Newcastle Jets, which he went on to captain for their championship win in 2007-08.

After being signed to the South Korean team Incheon United Jade followed up with a stint with Norweigan side Tromsø IL and later FC Tokyo, a Japanese second tier club.

Returning to the A-League he played with the Wellington Phoenix before coming back to his roots and signing up with Brisbane Roar. He has recently re-signed with the club where he is currently vice-captain and their star defender. He has amassed 144 caps across his career in the A-League. 

Jade is also an inspiration beyond the sports field. He is an ambassador for the Mini Roos, the Leukemia Foundation, the Indigenous Games and the Indigenous Football Championships.

As a Dad to three young boys he has recently started up a football clinic called Kickin with a Cuz, using inclusion through sport to uplift disadvantaged kids.

Jade’s journey and accomplishments have made him strong and determined to inspire passion in others.

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NAIDOC 2016: Sportsperson of the year - Jade North
An Olympian and two time A-League championship winner, Aboriginal soccer star Jade North has been kicking goals both on and off the field.