Julian Araujo of Lompoc High has gotten a chance to travel the country and the world with his soccer cleats and ball in tow.
The sophomore LHS middle forward, who also plays running back and kicks field goals for the Braves football team, has added this accomplishment to his already young soccer resume: Joining the Under-16 U.S. Junior Boys National Team.
He recently took in the sights and sounds of Argentina for a world contest with his national club – and had to adjust to a whole new speed and style of soccer where the sport there is like religion.
“It was different, but I liked it,” Araujo said. “Soccer-wise, it was competitive. Their style and speed of play made it hard. I think it’s more competitive and they (the Argentinian players) are hungry.”
Araujo recently guided the Braves to an 11-13 mark and 7-7 finish in the Los Padres League this past soccer season, culminating in a playoff appearance for LHS. His sophomore season ended down in Los Angeles County on Feb. 18, as Culver City eliminated Lompoc 2-0 in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs.
But soccer hasn’t stopped for Araujo. He kept the soccer kicks on his feet and is proudly wearing the national junior uniform. According to his LHS head coach Marco Vargas, Araujo is the first boys soccer player in LHS history to ever play on a national stage.
The 5-foot-8 Araujo said it’s finally starting to hit him that he’s on a national and world tour, all while representing the Lompoc Valley and the Braves. Vargas said this feeling for Araujo ranks as a significant honor for his player.
“I think it’s great for him. It’s a big honor, especially since he’s from a small town like Lompoc,” Vargas said.
Vargas learned of Araujo’s national tour during this past soccer season.
“My first reaction was that I was happy for him. He was actually a little bit nervous about being selected, but he worked hard and definitely deserves the spot,” Vargas said. “He has the heart. He doesn’t give up and he gives it over 100 percent, or more at 110 percent.”
Araujo can’t stay away from the soccer pitch and became addicted to the sport at a young age. In fact, he’s been kicking and sliding since the age of 6 when he played for the Lompoc American Youth Soccer Association (AYSO). Per his mother Lupe, Araujo was selected to play on the AYSO All-Stars starting at 8 years old. He went on to win Most Valuable Player honors for four years straight while playing for the league’s All-Star team.
From AYSO, Araujo went on to attend different camps and tournaments in Southern California and across the state where soccer scouts watch from the sidelines. His stellar play in front of the major soccer authorities helped catapult him to a spot on the U.S Nationals.
His skill with his feet and head have taken him to places like Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Argentina and, coming up soon, Arizona and France.
Araujo has taken significant time away from school to compete with the national club and was in Arizona from March 2 to 5. His trip to France is set for sometime in June.
With all of the traveling he’s done, he’s already envisioning a future career in soccer, as he hopes to play college soccer at his dream university UC Santa Barbara and embark on a pro career from there.
“I love it. It’s what I want to do,” Araujo said.