Tigers’ Chaffetz earning state recognition for soccer success
Jake Chaffetz has watched his profile steadily rise over the past two years.
The Grand Junction High School senior spent July as the Grand Valley’s only representative at the Colorado High School Soccer Coaches Association all-state game in Lakewood. Chaffetz started for the North team and played almost the entire game.
“It was nice to be recognized among some of the best players through the state,” Chaffetz said. “Being the only kid from the Western Slope was great, too, because I feel like the players over here don’t get very much credit and don’t get a chance to showcase their skills.”
The game capped a junior season in which he scored 12 goals in 15 games, adding in five assists as a big piece for a team that finished 10-4-2. The Tigers were also competitive in the Class 5A playoffs, falling 3-2 to No. 9-seeded Pine Creek in the opening round for their closest playoff contest in at least a decade. Chaffetz nailed a penalty kick and the Tigers drew praise from Pine Creek’s coach.
Chaffetz was a big part of Grand Junction’s success, and other coaches took notice. The midfielder is being recruited by numerous teams, including several NCAA Division I schools. Later this month he has official visits to Air Force and Utah Valley University. Air Force is regularly a top-ranked team in its region and UVU was nationally ranked in 2015, only 13 seasons after the program made the jump to Division I.
Chaffetz’s mix of size, speed and skill makes him a desirable college recruit, but sometimes that isn’t enough. For Chaffetz, that meant leaving Grand Junction to play club soccer.
He guest-played — a term used for players who train on their own, then join the team for tournaments — with La Roca Futbol Club in Salt Lake City, an organization that features nearly 100 teams across all age groups, including a few that traveled to the prestigious US Youth Soccer Nationals.
It’s a similar path to his sister, Taylor, who spent time with Real Colorado and the Utah Avalanche. She now plays for Colorado State University.
“Salt Lake City, it wasn’t so much to improve my game as it was getting exposure,” Chaffetz said. “It’s about getting recruited. I’d go through all my training with my dad before and after school, then I’d go play with La Roca for tournaments.”
The Tigers open the season on the road against Palmer on Sept. 1.