After Milton's Jasmin Johansen broke her school’s goals, assists, and points records during the 2006 season, the word on Johansen made its way almost 1,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, to Bermuda, the island her parents grew up on.
Jasmin Johansen played five years of soccer at the Woodward School for Girls in Quincy. She was named all-conference four consecutive years from 2003-2006, culminating in a record-breaking senior season after which her No. 5 jersey was retired. Johansen’s greatest accomplishment, however, came after her lengthy stint in a Woodward uniform.
After the Milton resident broke her school’s goals, assists, and points records during the 2006 season, the word on Johansen made its way almost 1,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, to Bermuda, the island her parents grew up on. In January, she was contacted by coaches of the island’s national women’s soccer team.
‘‘After Jasmin broke all the records, people in Bermuda became aware of her,’’ said her father, Jerry Johansen. ‘‘Before long, she was in the newspaper there, and she was eventually invited to come to Bermuda for the national team’s tryouts.’’
After graduating this spring, Jasmin attended the tryouts, competing with 60 other girls for one of the 20 available spots on the roster.
‘‘We didn’t really have any expectations of her making the national team,’’ said Jerry. ‘‘We had no idea whether she’d make it or not, and in fact, we didn’t find out until we were at the airport, about to head back to the States.’’
The Johansens didn’t open a letter or receive a phone call that day at the airport.
‘‘I was reading the newspaper at the terminal, and I saw that they had the rosters printed,’’ Jerry said. ‘‘Sure enough, her name was on it.
That’s how we found out she had made the team.’’
After only a couple of weeks with the team, Jasmin made her debut with Bermuda’s national team in July, during the 2007 Island Games, in Greece. Despite being among the younger players on the team, she played long stretches of the team’s final two games of the tournament, helping her team to a bronze medal.
‘‘The girls were very accepting of me, and they taught me a lot,’’ Jasmin said. ‘‘It was really quite a leap in quality of play.’’
Jasmin found it easy to identify with her Bermudan heritage, having visited relatives there at least once a year since she was a child.
‘‘It was really a huge honor for me and my family,’’ Jasmin said. ‘‘It was great for a variety of reasons. Between my Bermudan roots, my ability to see my family and the chance to learn to play soccer on a higher level, it was such a great opportunity.’’
It’s not an opportunity Jasmin is about to let get away, even now that she’s set to head to college.
‘‘I definitely want to keep playing for Bermuda,’’ Jasmin said. ‘‘It shouldn’t be a problem during the summer, so I want to play with the team for a long time.
‘‘But I don’t want it to interfere with my education - I don’t want to lose focus.’’
Throughout her record-setting career at Woodward, Jasmin made it a point to concentrate on her academics, which was one of the reasons Bob Giordano, the school’s director of athletics, chose to retire her number.
‘‘We retired the number of the girl who held the records before Jasmin, and the criteria were basically the same,’’ Giordano said. ‘‘First, they had to be all-league caliber players. Second, and I thought more importantly, they had to be in great academic standing, and Jasmin certainly was, making the National Honor Society.’’
According to Jerry, it was made clear to his children early on that their focus should be on school, and accordingly, Jasmin considers making the NHS perhaps her greatest accomplishment.
‘‘I feel like academics was more important all along because we aren’t all going to grow up to be athletes,’’ Jasmin said. ‘‘My family and I felt like education was key, and so more than my other accomplishments in school and soccer, making the National Honor Society was a huge triumph for me.’’
With education still on her mind, Jasmin will attend and play soccer at Division 3 Spelman College, a historically black liberal arts college for women located in Atlanta, Georgia, rather than a high-profile collegiate soccer program.
That kind of decision didn’t surprise Giordano.
‘‘The thing with Jasmin is that she’s so humble. She’s a great team captain and has great inner strength,’’ Giordano said. ‘‘If you can believe it, Jasmin is a better person than she is a player.’’
Matthew J. Nielsen of The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Mass.) may be reached at email@example.com.