SPOKANE, Wash.– It’s never a surprise to see Jacob Bloomfeldt on the run. He’s done it his entire life.
“I started playing soccer as far as I can remember,” the 14-year-old Ferris sophomore said. “Ever since I could kick a ball. That’s what I always say.”
Jacob is a forward and it makes perfect sense.
He’s always running towards something. In certain cases it’s scoring a goal. In other cases, it’s a greater goal.
“Over there in Africa, we view America as Heaven,” Jacob said. “So, everyone dreams of coming to America.”
Jacob was born in Monrovia, Liberia. With his mother unable to support five children, she placed three of them into an orphanage. Two of which were adopted by Erik and Thea Bloomfeldt.
“You know, he was frightened there in the orphanage,” Jacob’s mother Thea said. “People would break in. You know, they take kids in Liberia.”
That 7-year-old boy got his wish along with his 3-year-old sister Patience. Both becoming U.S. citizens. But, that of course did come with a steep learning curve.
“I thought there were real people in the TV,” Jacob said. “So, when I first came to America. I started to take apart our TV and find out the real people in our TV. That’s one memory that is very funny to look back at.”
There was a lot to learn as there was a lot of change, but no matter where you go in this world, soccer is its own universal language.
So, Jacob set his sights and his feet in a very particular direction.
“When he was playing at this level he’d score eight-to-10 goals every game,” Jacob’s father Erik said.
Jacob’s former travel coach Dave Ellis said, “Jacob’s the best player I’ve ever coached. It’s not even close.”
For a family that knew almost nothing about soccer, Jacob’s talent did all of the talking.
“I was doing quite better than the other kids and that’s when I said, ‘Hey, maybe I want to work harder and get better and better at this sport.'”
And that’s exactly what he did.
Jacob played in tournaments catching the eyes of coaches everywhere. He made the Olympic Development team in the state of Washington. He then made the U.S. regional team, which consists of 13 states on the West coast. He was even named a U.S. all-star Just one-of-18 players in the country selected for that allowing him to travel the world and play nationally.
“That’s the biggest challenge is that you run up this ceiling where you can’t go any further (in Spokane) and that’s what creates the need for travel,” Erik said.
There were no red flags when it came to Jacob’s talent and character, but to play with the best he needs to be with the best. And that meant traveling back-and-forth from Spokane to Seattle.
“Just the logistics. Just being able to get the schedules ahead of time from coaches because when you live five miles away it’s a lot different than living 300 miles away,” Erik said.
Jacob tries to keep himself honest during the week training with former Zag Alex Kwamina.
“Basically, what I’m trying to do is get him beyond the plateau level,” Kwamina said.
But, there’s only so much Alex can do.
Jacob has received multiple invitations to play soccer at the next level across the Pacific Northwest including the Crossfire academy near Seattle. It’s a program that has produced 116 collegiate athletes in six years.
That’s great news, but it would require his entire family to move to Western Washington.
“You know, weekends are just not going to cut it anymore,” Erik, who is self-employed, said. “So we do have to be more mobile in one way or another. So, that’s definitely a crossroads that we’re at. We have to figure out how to make that work.”
Jacob said, “either we’re going to have to move to one of those places for me to continue to progress or–that’s kind of pretty much the option for me right now.”
Though Eric and Thea have yet to make a final decision. They know there’s no stopping Jacob.
“He wanted to play soccer and it was his goal to be in the Major Leagues as soon as he got here,” Thea said with a laugh. “He made that very well known.”
And who knows?
If things go right, maybe he will finally meet those people in the television after all.