This year marked the second season Jonty Nobbs ’18 has earned a starting position on the Boys’ Varsity Soccer team. Praised by coaches and teammates for his physical and technical playing style, he takes the position of left-back, defending the left-side of the field. However, according to Upper School JV Soccer coach Jonathan Horst, he is not restricted to only playing defense.
“Jonty‘s style of play allows him to contribute all over the field: he is able to play as a center back, defensive midfielder, and more advanced midfielder, depending on the needs of the team,” Horst said in an email.
Not many players possess this versatility, making him stand out among his peers on the team. He was one of the only freshman on varsity in ninth grade as well as one of the only three sophomores this year.
“Jonty is a great varsity player due to his size, knowledge of the game, and technical abilities. He is a well rounded and incredible player who carries himself confidently on and off the field,” teammate Jeremy Yariv ’18 said.
He started his soccer career at an early age, joining a team in the youngest division of AYSO, American Youth Soccer Organization. Excelling in the open league program, he began playing with a club team in the fifth grade.
In an email, his father said, “To be honest, [Nobbs’] relationship with soccer has had a lot of ups and downs. He started off hating the sport, but once he turned 11 is when he realized this was a sport he loved. That was around the age he started to play club, and I saw a big jump in his play.”
While his father said he doesn’t know what exactly influenced his son to begin his play, Nobbs realized where his continued love of the sport comes from.
“It is a stress reliever for me. I can get a scholarship. I get to travel. I love traveling, especially with my team since we have a good time. I just think it is mainly because I love playing and hate homework,” said Nobbs.
Trying out for the team in ninth grade, the coaches saw something in him that convinced them to place him on the Varisty team.
“He is technicality gifted, he can handle the ball with both feet and his passing ability is excellent,” said Head of Boys’ Soccer Lucas Bongarra. “I have no doubt that his ability to play multiple positions on the field and his understanding of the game will project him to the college level.”
His second year on varsity has been lackluster so far, as Nobbs suffered an ankle injury during the last few months of 2015 which has kept him on the sidelines for the first couple of games of the season. He has been disappointed in being left out but is excited to be coming back soon. He has also been dealing with the difficult transition from the lower school campus to the upper school’s.
“As of recently, I sprained my ankle, and it [the transition] hasn’t been so bad. But it can be tough. It certainly is one of the more challenging experiences I have been in in recent times, as it is really hard to watch my team from the sidelines,” he said. “I think the main problem with playing a sport at such an high level while going to such a challenging school is that it’s not the missed hours of sleep, but that I get home from practice and am so tired.”
He spends many week days traveling after school to his club practices, which are sometimes three to four hours away.
“It is hard to do homework when I know practice is in 10 minutes. I get home, I shower, I eat. It takes up more time than you think,” he said.
According to Nobbs, the transition to the upper campus has been going well so far, but the injury has made an impact on both him and the soccer team, as the season is underway with the team’s record coming in at three wins and four losses at press time.
While soccer is a large part of his life, it is not the only thing he does. Outside of the sport, Nobbs enjoys playing ping-pong with his brother as well as playing his guitar and piano, walking his dogs and drawing. He also enjoys watching his favorite television shows, “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones.” At school he attends Chapel on Tuesday mornings, which is something that has consistently been his favorite part of the week. He also enjoys watching his favorite professional player Phillip Lahm play left-back for Bayern Munich.
“Phillip Lahm plays left-back and defensive midfielder, and I play those positions for both my club and school. He also is just a great, composed guy; he has character, he’s nice, and he doesn’t have an ego. He is the sort of player I want to be like,” he said.
Looking forward, Nobbs hopes to find the right balance between finding the right career for himself, and the sport he spends so much time playing.
“I want to play college soccer, but if that would interfere with academics, then no. I think I want to major in computer sciences or something in the field,” he said.