United Community Bank Athlete of the Week: Minot’s JJ Dufner
MINOT, N.D. (KMOT) - JJ Dufner is historic.
“I think my mom told me,” said JJ.
JJ notched the Minot High record for the fewest goals in a season. He also tallied nine shutouts this year.
“I was pretty happy, not going to lie,” said JJ.
His path to the net is unconventional.
“I always just stood in front of the goal because I was lazy. I didn’t want to run… I would always get pushed up so that I could try to get out of the goal, then I would run back and sit in front of the goal,” said JJ.
“Yup. That’s 100 percent JJ. Definitely was one of those kids at the beginning,” said Coach Chad Oswalt.
This year, JJ tried his hand — or foot — at kicking, in football.
American football, that is.
“JJ’s nature in general is probably perfect for football, perfect for soccer. He’s loud as it is. He’s definitely one of those players on the field where his presence is known,” said Oswalt.
JJ doesn’t just collect saves and extra points. He also enjoys trading cards.
“I’ve opened a few packs with him before. At one soccer tournament, we went to a place and bought a bunch of cards… it’s so much fun, if you get someone good it’s crazy,” said Brayden Oswalt, a junior at Minot High.
Some may call it a hobby.
“I’ve been collecting soccer cards lately because the World Cup is about to start,” said JJ.
But for JJ, it’s his way of remembering someone.
“My grandpa passed away this past year, so I’ve been collecting them more now,” said JJ.
Along with a simple t-shirt under his jersey.
“It says: ‘I’m playing for him.’ It makes me feel like I have his comfort and that it’s okay if I mess up because he’ll always be there for me,” said JJ.
So that he can be there for others.
“If you ever need someone he’s always there. He’ll always talk to you about anything. He’ll help you with whatever you need and he’ll always be there for you,” said Brayden.
And JJ can be in the record book.
He says he would like to play soccer in college and study business.
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