The Jacob name is synonymous with soccer in Washtenaw County.
Ask anyone who's close to the game in Ann Arbor, and they've probably played with or watched Tristan or his sister Nikhita (who recently committed to play her college ball at Bowling Green State University). The two of them have been close to the game from a young age. They may have caught the bug from their biggest supporter, their Dad, Verghese Jacob, who played for Eastern Michigan University men's soccer team, before the school stopped endorsing a Division 1 team.
Tristan, one of only seven players to play for AFC Ann Arbor in 2015 and 2016, not only loves the game of soccer, but also his hometown of Ann Arbor. So much, that he says the biggest moment in his life to date was when he committed to play soccer at the University of Michigan.
He added, "It means a lot for me to play for my city as well represent the University of Michigan."
Recently, AFC Ann Arbor had a chance to sit down and catch up with Tristan about his soccer career, his love for the area and why AFC Ann Arbor means so much to him.
AFC Ann Arbor: Being a local Ann Arbor guy, and playing for the University of Michigan, you've taken on a role as one of the "local guys" for AFC. That means showing guys around town, helping them feel more comfortable and so on. What has that role meant to you and why have you been so receptive to being one of the key guys that helps the team gel?
Tristan: It’s been such a pleasure being able to represent AFC Ann Arbor as a local Ann Arborite. It means a lot for me to play for my city as well represent the University of Michigan. AFC Ann Arbor has given me so many unique opportunities that is hard to find anywhere else for example playing with different guys from different parts of the world. I think it’s in my personality to always want to help others and make people feel comfortable. So when I heard that we had players coming in from different parts of the world, my first reaction was to show them around the city and try to make them feel at home because I would want the same if I were to be in their shoes. Also growing up in Ann Arbor my whole life, I’ve become so attached to everything and everyone around town and whenever there are guests I love to show them why Ann Arbor is such an amazing city.
AFCAA: You grew up playing with Peter and the two of you went to different colleges so meeting up and playing for AFC the last two season has had to be special. What has it meant to your guys friendship and how has the team made you guys even closer?
Tristan: Yeah Peter is one of my best friends since we were about 8 or 9 years old. We grew up playing against each other and then we eventually joined the same club team in middle school. We’ve always had a really special bond, our personalities just seem to click really well. It’s such an awesome feeling being able to be on the same field with one of your best friends because during the school year I barley ever get to see him and we hadn’t played on the same team for such a long time. But this summer especially was great for our friendship, because we had practice everyday I got to train with him all the time. As well he would drive me to practice and we had a lot of time to spend with each other which is always a good thing. One of the coolest things about this summer and playing with Peter was that we got to represent AFC Ann Arbor on our old field at Pioneer where we have had many great memories during our playing time in high school.
AFCAA: At every match, there's a handful of people just waiting for you to sub in and show your skills on the pitch. You're a definite fan favorite. What does it mean to you to be a role model for kids in your own community?
Tristan: It really means the world to me to be a role model for young kids because I once was just like them and wanted someone to look up to. It makes me so happy to be able to put smiles on kids faces because you really begin to realize how much maybe something as small as a high five or just a hello means to them. I’m hoping I can always be someone the kids look up to and hopefully it motivates them to see that a player from Ann Arbor has been able to be given such great opportunities to represent a club like AFC Ann Arbor as well as the University of Michigan.
AFCAA: What has been your most memorable moment with AFC?
Tristan: My most memorable moment with AFC was definitely my first ever game with them during the inaugural season, Hollway field was packed and I didn’t really know what to expect at the time. But family and friends were there to watch me which is always special to me.
AFCAA: What has been your most memorable moment in your entire career?
Tristan: The most memorable moment in my entire career was verbally committing to the University of Michigan. It’s been a dream for me to play for them, and at the time I saw all my hard work that I put into soccer pay off. The happiness that it gave to my family is something I will never forget. I remember I couldn’t sleep that night because of the excitement. September 20th, 2012 will always be a special day in my life because I was able to commit to the school I had dreamed of going to.
AFCAA: Where do you hope your career takes you over the next couple of years?
Tristan: So I have two more years of college eligibility after this season is over, so I am hoping that I will be able to contribute to our team winning a Big Ten Championship as well making the NCAA tournament and hopefully going far in that. I have high hopes for myself because I am very driven to show everyone what I am capable of on the soccer field. I am also hoping to stay injury free the next two seasons because some injuries have kept me out of a decent amount of games during the season. But I don’t want to look to far in the future and say I want to be here in so and so years. I have a job and that is to represent my family, friends and myself as I play for the University. I want to see my team and myself succeed on and off the field in the coming years.