Will Johnson - From Zebra to Saint
Will Johnson is a promising up and coming forward. Aged 21, standing at 191cm and weighing 91 kg, he is a project of the future who has performed well for Sandringham and developed strongly throughout his two years at the St Kilda Football Club.
However, there is more than meets the eye of this Wesley College product.
AFL football wasn’t Johnson’s only passion throughout his teenage years.
“I stopped playing footy in year nine and didn’t pick it up again until year 12,” said Johnson.
Having won the Under 16 Golf Championship at ‘The Dunes’, Johnson nonchalantly describes his golfing prowess as, “I like to think I’m alright.”
From all reports ‘alright’ is an understatement. As a youth Johnson faced a common problem that many young aspiring athletes are confronted with in deciding which sporting career path to follow.
“I was going to take the golf career ahead of football, but I would have had to go to America on a scholarship which might not have panned out,” Johnson explained.
“When I had the opportunity to train with St Kilda I made football my priority. It has been good because I haven’t really had to give up golf, as I still play every now and then.”
But just how good is he at golf you may ask?
“I play off a handicap of five, but it used to be lower.”
“I beat BJ [Brendon Goddard] in a round the other day. But he’s a gun and he’ll bounce back,” Johnson revealed.
After two positive NAB Cup performances for the Saints this year, Johnson has outlined his sole focus is on playing consistent football for VFL side Sandringham.
“My main goal this year is to be a consistent performer and make sure I play the right structures and roles,” he said.
“Having the opportunity to play NAB Cup was great; the atmosphere was unbelievable. It’s a high level and its fast, I really enjoyed it and I want to take some of that form and experience into the VFL and hopefully be a better player.”
Off the field and away from football, Johnson is looking to combine two of his interests, sport and teaching. The 21 year old is preparing to start work as an assistant sport and outdoor education teacher as a part of St Kilda’s ‘Earn or Learn’ program.
“I like teaching and I like to think that I have good communication skills with young kids. I think becoming a teacher of some sort in the education department would be good,” said Johnson.
Johnson is developing both as a person and an AFL footballer; and after a taste of playing football under the bright lights at Etihad Stadium, 2011 should be a big year for the promising forward.
By Joc O'Connell from www.saints.com.au