Crew Academy Player and TWHS Senior, Jacob Stazenski, on Success and Sacrifice


Photo provided by Jacob Stazenski

Jacob Stazenski on the field for the playing for Crew Academy

Jacob “Jstaz” Stazenski, a senior at TWHS, excels in academics and has many friends, but unlike his fellow classmates, he is balancing typical teenage life while playing soccer for Crew Academy, a developmental program affiliated with Crew FC, Columbus’s professional soccer team and 2020 Major League Soccer champion.

The Crew Academy is not like any other club a high school student might play for outside of the school season. Players have no fees, in fact, they are basically paid to play as they have paid medical expenses, travel, food, training, and college exposure. Players are handpicked and developed and are not allowed to play a school sport as agreed upon in their crew academy contract. 

 “The goal of the Crew Academy is to develop professional players”, according to the organization’s website,

Stazenski travels year-round and trains multiple times weekly with his team on top of his own individual training. When it comes to traveling for soccer, Crew Academy ensures that he and his family do not spend a dime. Bus rides, plane tickets, food, personal training, physical therapy, and other expenses add up over time. 

According to Stazenski, the average player for Crew Academy “receives around 15-25 thousand dollars every year in paid expenses”. 

While other high school athletes pay anywhere from $500-$2000 for a club season (which only last a few months), Stazenski is being paid to play and travel year-round competing with other clubs affiliated with other major league soccer teams.

While playing for a premier club and getting paid to play may sound like an athlete’s dream, it is not all sunshine and rainbows playing for Crew Academy.

 It is “incredibly physically and mentally demanding. It also gets in the way of being able to regularly attend large social events”, says Stazenski.

Stazenski has missed several school dances, and often cannot hang out with friends on weekends as he may be traveling or have late training. He says time management is incredibly important when balancing soccer, friends, and school. He works very hard to maintain a high GPA on top of making time to practice on his own outside of school and soccer practice and games.

“The payoff is big, but it definitely requires a lot of commitment and work outside of just being on the team”.

There is a lot of mental pressure in addition to the physical pressure young athletes feel. Stazenski has just as strong mental skill as he does physical, as he must in order to play in the manner he does.

“You have to have a certain amount of drive and discipline to put yourself in the mindset of competing with others and yourself. It is stressful at times but is definitely worth the payoff of competing at the highest level someone my age can, and getting the best college exposure possible”.

Being a semi-professional athlete has shaped Stazenski’s high school experience to be very different from the average high school student-athlete. The hard work and competition have paid off, as Stazenski is now verbally committed to Boston College on an athletic scholarship. Boston College has a history of excellence, in both academics and athletics. Jacob Stazenski has an undeniable drive and elite mentality that will be essential to his future success.

“I have put my mind and body through a lot, and it has been really hard at times, but my love for soccer makes it all worth it”.