Some people just play sports, others live it…


At first, I bet Jason Wilhelm never imagined that after playing less than two years of footy (Australian Rules Football) that he would be motivated enough to move to Australia. For Jason (aka “Ponyboy”), footy started out as a way to absorb some free time… simply “something to do”. This kid from Cleveland probably never realized by showing up to a random Tuesday training session, that not only would he come out loving the game of Footy; but that he would make as many friends as he did.

A latecomer to Australian Football with a background in swimming, Wilhelm joined the Chicago Australian Football Association in April of 2010 as the rookie ruckman for the Lincoln Square Tigers. He started to establish himself as one of the football league’s elite ruckmen with regular standout performances. It wasn’t much later that his appreciation of the club was noticed; playing in as many games as he could with as much involvement in the social activities as possible. For Jason, Chicago Footy was more than just a game. Cleveland is Jason’s home and he didn’t have many friends in Chicago before coming here. Winning the Runaway Train Award in 2011 doing so, he has attended almost every function that the club offered and now he can link most friends in Chicago to some Footy connection.

“Probably the single best decision I made was to listen to Billy Ulhman and come to training one lonely Tuesday” – Jason.

Now, with his family and friends awaiting his return, he’s off to Australia to play Footy for 8 months. He has worked hard on his kicking action and believes getting some consistency in his technique will hold him in good stead for the future. So, why not learn in Australia?  Because of the Chicago club’s connections, Pony Boy has an opportunity to play for GinGin Eagles… spending the next 8 months petting kangaroos, watching cricket matches, eating Vegemite and playing footy.  We wish him all the luck in the world!

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  • Thomas Shearman
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