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Life off the Pitch with Free Jacks' Jackson Thiebes

October 1, 2020 - Major League Rugby (MLR) - New England Free Jacks News Release

A couple of weeks ago we heard from New England's Oliver Engelhart about the work that he does off the pitch, and this week we hear from his teammate Jackson Thiebes about the work that he has done for non-profits.

Thiebes can owe his rugby career to his English cousins. When visiting his family in Montana, Thiebes' cousins first taught the second row how to play the game. Due to not having teams in his local area, it was on the football field that he started to make his name.

As an offensive tackle, Thiebes would represent the University of Montana. It was whilst at school in Missoula that he began using his platform as a football player to help those less fortunate than himself.

This was by no means a new thing for him, having worked with the Special Olympics whilst in elementary school and helping with the athletes. Over two years the third-team all-conference OT would help with several after school programs, volunteer as a big brother for the Big Brothers Sisters of America and even built a house with Habitat for Humanity.

Photo courtesy of the New England Free Jacks

Even since leaving Missoula for pastures new in New England, Thiebes worked for a sustainable fish farm in Maine and during the Covid-19 pandemic has been delivering groceries to older people who can't go out because of the nature of the virus.

"My parents always instilled in us as kids; in your free time you need to be doing something outside or reading or helping or donating your time," Thiebes said. "I just enjoyed it. It was fun to get out and see parts of town, meet people, just stay active really. That was what I enjoyed most. I really enjoyed helping kids.

"Once a week I would go to recess and just chat with these two boys and that was a great way to spend an hour every week, helping in any way I can really. In Missoula, where I was going to school, the football team was held in really high regard and people really looked up to us. Especially kids and especially younger boys.

"So, if you could be a football player and show them that going to school is the right choice, and things like that, it would help them out and set them on the right path."

After moving to Boston three years ago to get an MBA in Marketing from Endicott College, Thiebes has primarily been focused on his rugby playing career. Having been involved with the Free Jacks since its inception, he remains proud, albeit honest, about his good doings in his earlier years.

"It felt good knowing that you are doing something positive and giving something to people," Thiebes said. "Giving them a good experience, advice or just someone to talk to. That was always something that I had, that I didn't want to take for granted.

"Growing up I always had three older brothers and my parents. I was so fortunate to have them all in my life and other people aren't as fortunate. I just wanted to give back. I was the youngest of three brothers, so it was always fun to give my advice and be the big brother every once in a while."

Follow along with Jackson on social media.

Written by MLR Correspondent Joe Harvey || Photos by Darren Zemanek

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Major League Rugby Stories from October 1, 2020

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