GREEN  If you see Damjan Djosanovic smiling while sporting an especially stylish pair of soccer cleats at a Green game this fall, just know that there’s a good reason.

As he prepares for his senior season with the Bulldogs, Djosanovic is taking on a new challenge away from the field and it’s helping him prepare for the year ahead - and afoot. He’s working at his first summer job, spending his first month and a half of summer break toiling at Finishing Solutions, a wood finishing company in Amish country about an hour south of Green.

“I work with a couple of my friends … this is the first time I’ve had a job, but it’s been great. The hours are good, the pay is good and I’ll be done before soccer conditioning starts,” Djosanovic said.

His aim in working is to earn money for a few items he plans to buy, specifically a nice pair of cleats for his senior season. It’s not that he hasn’t had good shoes before, but in the past, it was his father who paid for them.

The chance to earn the money for his own shoes and to be able to pick them out and pay for them on his own might seem like a small gesture to many, but Djosanovic likes the idea that when he runs around the pitch, the shoes keeping him grounded and allowing him the footing he needs to deliver pinpoint passes and accurate shots on goal will be ones he financed with his own sweat equity.

“That’s the best part of having a job is so you can finally buy your own cleats,” Djosanovic said. “Before, I had good shoes and my dad would buy them for me, but when you work for them, they’re yours and you feel good about that.”

Getting the money for his own shoes has meant the sort of summer schedule most high school students would prefer to avoid. One of the challenges of the nine months of the school year is waking up early five days a week, getting to school and starting class well before 8 a.m.

Summer is often a reprieve from that early morning start to the day, a chance to sleep in and relax for at least part of the three-month hiatus from education. Instead, Djosanovic has to get up early for his job, which requires a one-hour commute and begins at 7 a.m. each day.

Getting up before 6 a.m. typically isn’t fun regardless of one’s age, but doing it for the first half of summer break in the name of earning money to help pay for a few expenses is a sacrifice Djosanovic is willing to make. And while money is a central factor, he’s learned a few lessons along the way that he can apply to soccer, school and life in general.

“Definitely leadership would be the big thing. For example, on Friday at work, we do a lot of shipping and you have to be able to take charge and tell people, here’s what we need to get done,” Djosanovic said.

Leadership is a skill that translates to a variety of settings in life and being able to exhibit leadership while working with people who might be older and more experienced in the workforce is a benefit of having a summer job. Soccer conditioning will start soon enough, July 6 to be exact, but even then there won’t be much time for Djosanovic to sleep in. Conditioning sessions are scheduled to start at 6 a.m., the sort of early start time teams often use as a means to see who really wants to compete and be part of the roster and who would rather sleep in and relax.

The good news for Djosanovic is that he’s already in the habit of setting his alarm for an incredibly early hour, getting up and starting his day while many of his fellow students are still napping out out and trying to grab as much relaxation as they can before the school bell rings again this fall. 

Reach Andy at 330-580-8936
On Twitter: @aharrisBURB