Craig Jacobs tells us that when he returned home from his REALITY experience, he became the best version of himself. Learn more about Craig and his passion for soccer and community building in this interview with, as his wife calls him, PIC (Post Israel Craig).
REALITY: Describe what you do and how you are trying to make an impact.
Craig: I manage domestic media partners for Major League Soccer as well as digital social projects. As someone who loves sports, it’s really a dream job. In terms of making an impact, I’ll be the first to say that for me, the impact is something I’m still figuring out and wanting to do more of. I’m still searching for what my passion will be and how I can get hands on in ways that will make a difference.
REALITY: Who inspires the work that you do?
Craig: Ever since I was a kid, a lot of what I take pride in is work ethic. My parents worked incredibly hard to provide for myself and my sister, and so hard work as a key to success was instilled in me at a very early age.And while I haven’t had a traditional mentor mentee relationship, I have had a lot of valuable peer to peer mentor relationships, including one with my wife! As we go through similar career and life stages together (and at the same time), we can truly bounce ideas off of one another.
REALITY: What was the most meaningful moment from your REALITY journey?
Craig: We had an opportunity to visit Sakhnin, a town with the only predominantly Arab soccer club in the Israeli soccer league. It was amazing to see what good soccer can do and what great things the academy can teach in the community. Playing soccer, teaching values, all of it! What they stood for as a club was incredibly powerful for me. This was a great reminder of what good sport can do.
REALITY: How has your REALITY shifted since your journey?
Craig: I was so inspired by the folks on my trip that I have returned home and resolved to do more for my community, for friends and family and for the the underserved. There is just so much opportunity to use sport. Some of the conversations that I have had thanks to REALITY have helped me to explore how we can bring kids and communities together through soccer. The best part about being a member of the REALITY community is that your peers really don’t allow you to get excited about something, and then let it fizzle. We hold each other accountable and we’re there to lend support, or simply to listen. For me, that has been the biggest shift. I truly feel that I became the best version of myself when I returned from the trip. My wife and friends were referring to me as PIC (Post Israel Craig). This is something that I want to make sure that I continue to carry with me.
Our experience in Israel helped me and my REALITY friends talk about things that were always there and not always front of mind. I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude toward the 49 other people that I was able to spend my time with on my journey through Israel. And I can’t quite believe how active our connections are nine months after our trip. Before the trip, I was missing parts of my brain and my heart without these other 49 people. Before the trip, I was a bit skeptical and thought that this would be 49 new people I’d likely network with. Instead, it’s 49 people that I can explore friendships with and be constantly inspired by. I have a ton of gratitude and appreciation for that.
REALITY: How have you stayed connected to Israel since your journey?
Craig: Since I’ve returned from Israel, I keep up with the news in Israel via the daily email from Times of Israel; it has been a great tool for staying connected and staying on top of current events in that part of the world. I have also started talking to some organizations based in Israel and I’m hoping that those new connections give me a good reason to continue to visit Israel in the future.
REALITY: What would you like your REALITY community to know about you?
Craig: The people that know me know that I don’t like to hold a lot of things back. I am what I say I am. Soccer is my passion (maybe to a fault), and I am very committed to seeing what I can do to better the community through soccer.
REALITY: What can the REALITY community contact you about?
Craig: I am very passionate about speaking to folks who are interested in a potential career change or if you’re just figuring out what you want to do. I can certainly lend a bit of expertise to how to find a career that you are passionate about.You can also contact me with any question about sports, what to watch next on Netflix, and I always love speaking with anyone from the University of Michigan community.
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is proud to empower emerging leaders to explore their values, identity and new ways to strengthen their communities. We believe that as we work together to repair the world, it is important to share our diverse experiences and perspectives along the way. We encourage the expression of personal thoughts and reflections here on the Schusterman blog. Each post reflects solely the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation, its partner organizations or all program participants.