1 Sport

Lifelong NFL dream comes true for college standout with Kiwi roots

A lifelong dream to make the NFL has come true for Stanford University wide receiver Michael Wilson.

His named echoed out of the speakers in Kansas City as he was made the 94th pick at the NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals.

"The feeling that I got, you get it a few times in life. It's like a lifelong dream that has come to fruition," Wilson said.

Friends and family gathered at his house in an agonising wait to hear his name called out.

"Exciting, nerve-wracking, almost wanted to throw up, wanted to cry — all the emotions," Wilson said.

"The draft day was the longest day of my life and I felt nausea and just when you are thinking, 'Oh no, it's not going to happen', they called his name and it was such a release of emotions. We were all just crying," Wilson's mother Ngaire said.

Despite Wilson's thick American accent, his heritage runs deep in New Zealand.

His mum Ngaire is a Kiwi, and was born and raised in Wellington. The family returned to Aotearoa regularly before his football career took off.

When asked by 1News if New Zealand could claim him as a Kiwi NFL player, Wilson responded: "Most definitely; most definitely, for sure."

"We are definitely Kiwis. We are Kiwi proud. Every time I start an interview, people ask me for my background. The first thing I say is my mum is born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand. I always start my story from my parents are from," he said.

There's family sporting pedigree too. The 23-year-old's aunt Maureen Jacobson retired as the most capped Football Fern. She was the first to reach 50 appearances for the Ferns, and was also inducted into the Sport Legends of Wellington.

"I did try to get him into soccer over in America, but football was his true love," Jacobson said.

Wilson called his Aunty Maureen "super, super competitive" and "super, super driven and operates at an extremely high level".

"She worked so, so hard and I have all those qualities," he said.

As a college standout plagued by injuries, Wilson said being picked by a franchise was a moment he never saw coming.

"When I came home and broke my foot in my junior year, I just started crying in my mum's arm.

"Just so many emotions and so to battle through something like that a couple of years ago," Wilson said.


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