Budding soccer player Jacob Grossmann aims to one day play in the pros. He will soon take a big step toward making that dream a reality.
Grossmann, 13, was accepted into the youth academy of Major League Soccer club Houston Dynamo in Houston, Texas.
“It made me feel happy,” Grossmann said. “I definitely was super excited, and I’m ready for the challenge.”
The Kekaha native got a tryout about a month ago.
“At first, I kind of fit in with the boys. We had a special bond and good friendship, and we just clicked,” Grossmann said about his tryout. “The coaches liked me. I did really good in my tryout. Next thing I knew, they took me into an office, and they wanted to be in the starting-nine for the Houston Dynamo youth academy 0f boys.”
Grossmann recently played in a US Youth Soccer regional tournament in Boise, Idaho with Maui youth club Albion SC Hawaii, which was formerly called Maui United SC.
Albion SC Hawaii coach Brent Nunes saw Grossmann at first during camps he hosted on Kauai.
“Jacob, from when he was about 9 years old, he had a very unique personality,” Nunes said. “He had the championship work ethic and championship mindset. That’s two things we speak about within our teams and our training camps. He had that right off the bat, so we knew then that he was a young, high-potential player.”
Through his contacts in MLS, Nunes arranged tryouts for Grossmann for the Houston Dynamo, Seattle Sounders and San Jose Earthquakes.
“As a player, first off, he’s an attacking player. He’s a leader,” Nunes said. “He’s a vocal leader, and with his work ethic, he leads by example. His knack and ability to get in behind an opponent’s defense and constantly pressure our opponents, he’s a very attacking-minded player and a natural goal scorer.”
Nunes said Grossmann will report to the Houston Dynamo academy in August.
“I’ve told numerous peers of mine — college coaches and professional academy coaches — that in the last 16 years, and this is a pretty bold statement, Jacob is one of the most hardest working players I’ve seen come out of the state of Hawaii,” Nunes said.
Prior to joining Albion SC Hawaii about a year ago, Grossmann previously played for Kauai clubs Keahi SC and Kalaheo FC.
“Jacob, as a player, is really tenacious,” said Allan Duldulao, Keahi SC director and coach. “He’s speedy, tenacious and technical, too. He did a lot of futsal on the side.”
Duldulao added that he uses Grossmann as an example to his other players that they, too, can accomplish the same thing if given the opportunity.
“It’s part of my program to have a pathway, and Jacob is leading that pathway for all the other kids,” Duldulao said. “There is opportunities. There is those pathways, and you just got to follow your heart and your dream.”
He added about Grossmann: “Jacob, he’s just a polite kid. He’s a great kid to be around. He talks all kinds of goofy things, but on the field, he’s all heart. He plays with the biggest heart. He doesn’t want to lose at all.”
At the moment, Grossmann is in Europe participating in soccer tournaments in Spain and Portugal with Spanish club Promesas del Norte. After he’s done in Europe, he will fly directly to Houston.
“We moved away from family for soccer once before, from Kauai to Maui. Not too far — only a 45-minute flight,” Grossmann said. “But now since we’re moving to the mainland, it’s going to be a little harder to be together. But I’m totally ready for that. My family believes in me, and they want me to get to the highest level.”
Grossmann added he undoubtedly wants to turn pro as soon as possible.
“I’m not sure about college, but I’m definitely aiming for pro, and that is going to happen,” he said. “I’m going to keep working. I’m not going to turn away from my goal.”
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.