Meet One of Our Trailblazers, Jesse Donn

Last week, one of our players who was a part of our first EVER trial in 2010 got a call up to Thabo Senong's South Africa U20 camp. Jesse Donn was just 11 years old when he became a part of Ubuntu’s trailblazing group, the team who set the standards and culture that all subsequent groups have benefitted from.

Now, he is a midfield for UbuntuCapeTown FC, but his story can be summed up in two words: hard work. As an 11 year old, Jesse fit the Ubuntu mold. But as the standard at Ubuntu progressed, Jesse didn't progress as much.  For two years in a row, he played on the B team. In some ways, Jesse believes that time was a blessing in disguise and a catalyst for success for him. From there, it’s been an upward progression.

While Jesse developed as a footballer, he faced a significant crossroads in his career: to play professionally in Croatia, to attend university in the US, or to play professionally at home in South Africa. As he entered his final year at Fish Hoek High School, he faced a massive decision about his future. Jesse received full offers from American colleges including Notre Dame, North Carolina State, and the University of New Mexico.

It was definitely not an easy decision to go pro. I knew the risks I was taking... I mean I could break a leg tomorrow and then what’s happening? But I prayed about it lots, and I knew the best decision for me was to really pursue, not recklessly, but really pursue what I wanted – even though it wasn’t going to be easy, and it hasn’t been easy. There are lots of risks to take, that was really what my heart desired, so that’s why I chose that.”
— Jesse Donn

Jesse had to balance his final year of school with a professional career, a huge and difficult adjustment. One year later, he is studying Economics online through UNISA, a world renowned university based in Pretoria. In terms of the future, his hope is to establish authority in the NFD, to gain more playing time for Ubuntu, and to generate interest from bigger clubs.

We are so proud of you Jesse, and we can’t wait to watch you play in the 2019 CAF Africa U-20 Cup of Nations qualifiers!

We send our Ubuntu Teammates an exclusive story every month. This month, we are sharing Jesse's journey from age 11! Click the button above, and get to know Jesse even more.