A high school soccer player from the Central Coast dominated the Los Padres League and the Santa Barbara Soccer Club, now he's working on his professional career through FC Barcelona and the U.S. National team.
16-year-old Julian Araujo's dream is to become a professional soccer player and he is certainly on his way.
In December of 2016, Araujo was called to play for the U.S. Under-16 Boys' National Team. Then during the summer of 2017, FC Barcelona opened its first ever soccer development academy in the United States. Araujo earned a full scholarship to Barca Academy in Arizona, representing one of 22 players his age to make the team.
After a few days of turning 16, Araujo packed his bags and left his friends, family, and Lompoc High School to chase his professional dream.
"The first month was kind of tough leaving my family," Araujo said. "I have a niece who is three years old, I am close to her. It's harder for me. And missing my family. I call my parents every day to just let them, but at the end of the day, all I am trying to do is make life easier for them make them proud."
It makes sense why Araujo has the courage to make that kind of sacrifice, he emanates his strengths every day on the field as Barca's team captain.
"You got to lead your team, you can see everything. You got to be brave. You can't be scared as a defender," Araujo said.
Two months after turning 16, Araujo was called up to the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team, becoming the youngest and lone 16-year-old on the team.
Despite some days being tough since he is away from his friends and family, he says it's forgotten after he wakes up.
"Knowing why I need to get up motivates me," Araujo explains. "I am always waking up happy because the first I get to do is play soccer. After soccer, we go to school, which isn't really my favorite, but playing soccer makes me happy and wakes me up in a good mood."
Araujo also mentions he's able to pursue his dream because of all the support he's received.
"I want to give huge thanks to my parents, family, and friends for everything they have done for me. They always support everything I do and huge thanks to all my Santa Barbara coaches as well," Araujo said.