By Ray Hamill — Jared Wallace is taking a unique approach to his football career.
The Arcata senior recently signed a letter of commitment to play for Butte College after graduation, but he has no intention of continuing on to a four-year program after that.
Instead, Wallace wants to immediately turn pro, in Germany, while continuing his studies and earning a masters in engineering.
“And they have a lot of professional leagues at different levels … It’s a goal of mine to be able to go to school there and play football as my profession.
“It’s kind of an alternative to the whole D-I route.”
Football, the American version, has long been very popular in Germany, with the German Football League founded in 1979 and multiple levels of minor leagues throughout the country.
There is more interest in the sport in Germany than in any other European country.
Wallace, who enjoyed a five-week exchange over there, got to practice with the 19U team of the Braunschweig Lions, one of the top clubs in the country.
And that gave him an idea of the level of competition.
“It was a great opportunity,” he said. “I got to play with a couple of guys from the German national team.”
In the meantime, the Arcata senior wants to earn an AA in engineering at Butte, which he can take to Germany and complete his education.
He visited “six or seven schools in California and Oregon” and admits that in the end Butte was an easy choice for one reason in particular.
“They sat me down and instead of showing me all they guys they sent on (to four-year programs), they showed me all the guys they didn’t send on, because that list was shorter,” said Wallace, who added that only two of the 60 Butte sophomores this year did not move on.
“It was a really stark difference between Butte and a lot of the other JUCOs. And I wanted to play for the best team I could before I go to Germany.”
Wallace will play either defensive tackle or offensive guard for the perennial powerhouse Roadrunners, but knows he is not guaranteed a starting spot and that he has to fight for it.
Judging by his career playing for the Tigers, Wallace appears well up for that challenge.
A multi-sport athlete, the standout lineman also played basketball and competed in cross country for the Tigers.
He played with Arcata’s Brandon Bento-Jackson and Josiah Gomez and McKinleyville’s Jack Clancy on the very successful Pacific Union eight-grade basketball team before his time at Arcata.
Another of his teammates on that squad was Chase Coleman, who is the starting catcher for this year’s Tigers baseball team, which will play a North Coast Section semifinal on Wednesday.
Coleman, who Wallace describes as a “brother,” also was on hand at the recent letter signing ceremony after committing his collegiate future to the Mission College baseball program in Santa Clara.
“It was really cool getting to do that with Chase,” Wallace said. “Me and Chase have played together on every single team ever since we were five years old. I grew up next door to him.”
Wallace also paid tribute to some of his former coaches and teammates.
“Honestly, the guys I’ll remember the most are Shane (Purcell), Carson (Tucker) and Alex (Jioras),” he said of the talented trio that had a huge impact on the Tigers’ memorable 2021 season. “It was hard being a leader this year without them.”
The senior standout also praised this father Justin Wallace for his help in getting to where he is, as well as Arcata assistant coach Tegan Jones, who went from being a teammate to a coach and stepped up for the players after head coach Jamal Jones stepped down following the 2021 season.
“My dad really stepped up for me when I wanted to play football,” he said of Justin, who played for the Fortuna Huskies back in the 1980s. “And Tegan went from a teammate to a coach in my junior year and he would get up at 4:30 every morning to let us in the weight room. He really stepped up in that regard.”