J.T. Cook has received several accolades over the course of his high school soccer career, but the Servite High School senior knows that nothing is accomplished individually on the field without the backing of a team that works together for the greater goal.
Along with being named Trinity League Co-Defender of the Year for 2014 and multiple selections to CIF, All-Trinity League and All-Orange County teams, Cook also was chosen as the Orange County Register’s 2014 Soccer Player of the Year, an award that means a little bit more to the varsity mid-fielder..T. Cook has received several accolades over the course of his high school soccer career, but the Servite High School senior knows that nothing is accomplished individually on the field without the backing of a team that works together for the greater goal.
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“I appreciated it because it focused less on my individual skills as a person and more so on how me and my team worked together to accomplish our goals,” says Cook.
Cook has been kicking around a soccer ball since he was 4 years old and has used his love for the game to develop and excel in other areas of his life, namely leadership.
“I feel like soccer has really helped me become the best leader that I can [be],” says the second-year captain of the varsity Friars. “To be a captain at Servite…it’s a big responsibility. You have to be the best example that you can be to the team at all times.”
Servite’s varsity soccer head coach, Jon Spencer, says that Cook’s leadership ability is an integral part of the team’s success in recent years.
“J.T. continually puts the needs of the team above his own and leads by example in both what he does and what he says,” says Spencer. “He continues to model for his teammates what it means to truly be a faith-filled leader.”
In his final high school season, Cook has clear goals both for himself and his team.
“For myself, just to be the best captain I can be to my team and be the best leader I can be,” says Cook. “And we’ve said it from the start of the season, we are really determined to win CIF this year.”
Cook’s commitment to leadership extends off the field in the form of serving the community with Higher Ground Youth & Family Services, a nonprofit organization where Cook and some of his teammates provide positive mentoring by teaching soccer to local at-risk youth.
As for next steps, Cook discovered “the right fit” in Saint Louis University and plans to head east to Missouri where he will continue to play soccer as well as study aerospace engineering.
Even though college will take him far from home, Cook won’t lose sight of what got him there or the words from his biggest inspiration—his father.
“He is the greatest person I know,” says Cook of his father. “He’s the one who is always there telling me, ‘Always remember it’s not just you. You play for a team.’”