Life as a goalkeeper can be tough at the college level. The room for error is razor thin and being mentally tough is vital to success.
Azusa Pacifici’s Tyler Jaramillo knows that as well as anyone. And his ability to understand what it takes to play a challenging position at a high level has helped him thrive with the Cougars.
“One of the toughest things about being a goalkeeper at this level is maintaining a level head,” Jaramillo said. “Making game changing decisions on the fly and directing my black line is a huge responsibility. If I’m to make a mistake, the odds of the ball being in the back of the net are high. If a mistake is made, it is essential I take note of it and move on so the rest of my game isn’t affected.”
Jaramillo is coming off an impressive sophomore campaign, a season in which he started all 17 games and helped Azusa Pacific win the PacWest and earn a trip to the NCAA tournament. He owned a 0.96 goals against average and recorded four shutouts while allowing only 16 goals all year.
As pleased as he was with his personal success after coming over from Cal Poly Pomona, he wasn’t about to become complacent in the offseason.
“Looking back on last season, I’d say I played well. But there’s certainly room for improvement,” Jaramillo said. “During the offseason in the spring, we hit the gym and track hard and kept on with field sessions. I focused on what I lacked during the season.”
The workouts continued into the summer.
“We were provided with a certain set of workouts four days a week,” Jaramillo said. “Several weeks before (two-a-days) began, a few teammates and I would meet on the pitch and train on what was needed to prepare us for the upcoming season.”
What is interesting about the success Jaramillo has had is that he came to the Cougars last season after a two-year break from soccer. He worked hard to maintain his fitness level and also managed his time well as he balanced life as a student and an athlete.
“It may be difficult at times when prioritizing my time between the love of the sport, my education and my personal responsibilities,” Jaramillo said. “But nonetheless, it has taught me about time management. I love the relationships that have been built within the team. Here at APU, we’re a family on the field, and more importantly, off the field.”
On the field, the Cougars have high hopes for the season. They played in the NCAA tourney for the first time in program history a year ago. They lost 1-0 to Cal State Los Angeles in the second round.
“It was the quite the rush,” Jaramillo said. “We worked hard for the opportunity and being a part of the first team to achieve a spot in the tourney at APU was heart-warming.”
Now that the bar has been raised, expectations are even higher.
“I have high expectations for the team and myself,” Jaramillo said. “While I’ve been in the program, I’ve never seen the team chemistry as strong as it is now. I believe because of the the grueling training and perseverance of each player, we’re going to have a great season.”