The tassels have been tossed for the seniors at Wheat Ridge High School. A chapter is closed, but for two soccer phenoms wrapping up their careers for the Farmers, new adventures await both in the classroom and on the college field.
Josiah Jakab and Diego Berumen have put pen to paper to play at the next level, but both will go separate ways. After having very different high school careers, the duo teamed up at WRHS in Berumen’s senior year. Jakab was a four-year varsity player for the Farmers, while Berumen spent three years at the Colorado Rapids Soccer Academy before taking his talents to WRHS in his final season.
But though their time together is coming to an end, both look forward with pride, and with opportunity on the horizon.
“It’s definitely a dream, and a big goal accomplished. I’ve always wanted to play in college, and as I got closer, it got harder and harder,” Jakab said. “So I’m definitely grateful to have this opportunity.”
While Berumen will be sticking close to home at Regis University, Jakab will head up to Oregon’s Willamette University, a Division III college in Salem, to earn his stripes on the team.
As a defending/holding midfielder, or simply the “6 position,” Jakab knows he’ll have to fight for his spot, but the current 6 at Willamette is a senior, so hopes are high for the incoming freshman. After getting to know Sam Adelman, the Bearcats’ head coach at Willamette, Jakab is confident in his new home.
“It hit everything on my checklist. It’s in a really cool area – it’s really pretty up there. The team plays the style that I want to play. The coaching staff is really great. [Adelman] cares about who you are off the field as much as on the field, which I appreciate,” he said.
For Jakab, trust in coaching is essential. Both Nate Flack and Reid Hukari, the head and assistant coaches for WRHS, were instrumental in guiding Jakab in his college search. Both coaches played college ball themselves, so having that experience in his corner made a daunting journey a smoother transition. Getting noticed is key, he says, and Flack and Reid had some answers he didn’t have in that regard.
He’s been noticed now, but it’s time to work. Jakab is eager to build up his body and take time to learn from his future teammates and coaches.
Coming from a Rapids-affiliated academy, there was a bit more spotlight on Berumen than most high schoolers. Berumen did three years before transitioning to WRHS, and to the Farmers’ benefit, they received a polished product from day one, even if they only got him for a year.
Now Berumen has leveraged his play into a Division III college – one right in his backyard. Staying at home is a big perk to joining a bona fide program in Regis, where he says he’ll change positions from his high school regulars.
Playing the 8 or the 10 position – or central midfielder or attacking midfielder – is Berumen’s comfort zone. But at the next level, he says he’ll be playing right back, or the 2.
“I chose Regis because I was honestly looking at many schools and none of them were really giving me a chance [until Regis],” Berumen said. “It was kind of a last-minute thing. But our club coaches told us their coach was a really good coach. And it’s close to home, which is nice, so why not?”
He took a tour of the campus, noting the brand-new turf on the field, and even got to play with the Rangers in a tryout. After seeing Berumen’s performance, Regis Head Coach Taylor Diem was impressed, and told Berumen he could have a chance to compete for the starting spot on the team. He’s confident in his talent, but knows he can always improve in his knowledge of the game, which is his main goal going forward.
But it’s not just about soccer for Berumen; he plays for something more. In 2021, the Farmers were battling Sand Creek High School from Colorado Springs. Berumen snagged two goals of his own, and the win, on his late father’s birthday. It was his favorite moment in his short WRHS career, and he’ll carry that memory with him to Regis.
Both seniors carry enormous pride for their high school. The culture is strong there, and though the soccer program has had its struggles, they’re confident the success they saw at Wheat Ridge will persist long after their departure.
The local community cares about soccer deeply, they said, and the athletes feel the love every night. They’ll miss that support, but it’s all eyes to the future for the two Farmer culture-builders on the soccer field.