If Jack Arnold hadn’t spent a year in Germany as a child, he probably never would have found his passion for soccer.
The Los Altos resident couldn’t help but get caught up in the Germans’ fervor for soccer; it’s their national sport, and the country has won the FIFA World Cup four times.
“I moved over there and just really fell in love with the sport,” said Arnold, who attended third grade in Germany.
Once he returned to Los Altos with his family, Arnold kept playing soccer and plans to continue to do so in college next fall. He is headed to Pomona College, which has an NCAA Division III soccer team, as a recruited athlete.
“A lot of things spoke to me,” Arnold of said of choosing Pomona, where he plans to major in economics or political science and minor in German. “For example, the small class sizes really spoke to me. The liberal arts curriculum … and also the location. (Los Angeles) is a city of opportunity – it’s so big, with so much diversity in terms of humans but also in terms of what we can do there, which was really appealing to me.”
Arnold, who plays right back, was recruited despite not playing high school soccer. He is a senior at the Mountain View-based German International School of Silicon Valley, which is not a member of the Central Coast Section.
Arnold got noticed by playing club soccer. He has played the last several seasons for the De Anza Force of Cupertino.
Force ranks second in Northern California and eighth in the nation at the under-19 level, according to Gotsoccer.com. The team won the NorCal National Premier League in the spring.
“Unbelievable,” Arnold said of finishing first, “because when we were walking to the last game, we had to win or tie to win league. … The whole team was pumped to win it.”
Force jumped to a 3-0 lead and held on to win 3-2.
“When the final whistle blew, we were all relieved – all very happy that our hard work had finally paid off,” said Arnold, who also played Little League Baseball and club lacrosse growing up.
Arnold added that he would cherish the championship-clinching game; it marked the last time he and his teammates will play together before heading off to college.
“It was the perfect ending,” he said.
And one day, Arnold may return to the country that inspired him to play soccer.
“I always wanted the chance to go study in Germany,” he said. “And going to this German school gave me my German high school diploma. If I wanted to, I could go study in Germany, so I always wanted that door to be open.”