“I Am Elon” with Jason Waterman '15
Elon's Jason Waterman sees challenges as opportunities in all aspects of his life—including the soccer field.
By Kim Walker
Jason Waterman still remembers the youth soccer camp coach who told him he would never succeed in the sport. Fast-forward to last fall, when the senior striker on the Elon men’s soccer team received many academic and athletic accolades—including leading the team in points and being named an Academic All-American—and it’s clear challenges translate into motivation for the accomplished athlete.
That’s why the communication science major seeks challenges. He opted to study abroad in India in 2013, for instance, because he wanted to go to the place most unlike his home country. The mayhem of India, in direct opposition to his preference for meticulous planning, taught him a new perspective. “I learned that I can just relax a little and things will work themselves out,” he says.
He is also one of 11 students participating in Elon’s Executive Intern Program, which allows him to work with senior administrators. “Not many students get to see this perspective, and it’s been fascinating to learn about what people like Smith Jackson do on a daily basis,” he says.
Jason was introduced to new cultures at an early age. When he was in fifth grade, his family adopted Patrick, an orphaned boy from Uganda. The two became fast friends, despite the language barrier. “We started playing soccer together and quickly formed a special relationship without having words,” he says.
Rounding out his diverse interests is a lifelong love: soccer. The only unrecruited walk-on on Elon’s squad, Jason and his teammates had a stellar 2013 season. The team won its third straight Southern Conference Tournament title, with Jason scoring the game-winning goal. He later scored the penalty kick that won them the first round of the NCAA Tournament. “I’ve been watching NCAA games since I was 4,” he says. “To stand on that field and realize there were kids watching me just like I did so many years ago, it was just surreal.”