Jonathan Burke

The Impact of Strikers on the Lives of Our Alumni

Jonathan Burke

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One character trait I developed at Strikers that has served me well in life comes from understanding that it doesn't matter what level you come from, there is talent everywhere. No matter the circumstances there are always ways to improve and enhance your game. I specifically learned during this time in my life that if you want to get to where you want to be, there are sacrifices that need to be made. Whether that is quality time with loved ones, going to bed at an early time, or eating the right things in order to perform the next day. I lived in Naperville at that time and driving to and from practice/games took me an hour both ways. This meant I would be getting home late almost every night with schoolwork I still had to complete. That was just one of the few sacrifices I had to make during that time in my life and it was absolutely worth it. It helped me really fall in love with the sport. It showed me that if I can get out of my comfort zone and do things that are challenging, then everything else will be much easier. 

At Strikers, the coaching staff and facilities had a big impact on my life. I was able to go into the facility on my off days and use the indoor racquetball room to work on my touch. As a goalkeeper, this is just as important as being able to save the ball in today's game. Starting that good habit at a young age helped me to develop my touch quicker than others, and ultimately put me in a position for success at the next level—college and pro. The coaches I had were also very understanding and willing to help with my development. I can remember times after training or days when we didn't have training when the coaches would open up the facility for me and a few guys to get some passing or touches on the ball. The staff was very helpful and always looked to aid in any way to develop us as players to the fullest potential. 

Strikers impacted my athletic play and choices by giving me a space to grow as a young man and as a player. I still talk to a bunch of the guys that were on my team when I was a Striker back in 2016. We had a quality group while we were there, with many guys who ended up playing at the college level and even guys that could have played at the next level if they would have chosen to do that. The environment we had was top-notch compared to others in the area. Outside of the pitch, we were best friends, but once we entered the field it was a battle. If I had to sum up my experience at Strikers in three words, it would be Sacrifice, Determination, and Blessed.

I signed with Chattanooga FC in NISA in January 2023. After having conversations with other clubs in the MLS and USL, this was the place I had the best feeling about. At the professional level, you do not really have a choice in where you end up. You have to always have a bag packed and be ready for any call you might receive. Chattanooga FC is one of the best clubs in the NISA league, and our goal this year is to win a championship. I truly believe that I have the abilities on the field and off the field to turn this club into one that lifts the trophy! 

– Jonathan Burke