• Lillie Burke

Senior Spotlight: Soccer’s JP Armbruster belongs at Belmont

Taking to the field as squad co-captain and a Belmont graduate student, JP Armbruster started his soccer story at the age of 3.

“I brought the ball everywhere with me,” Armbruster said. “I remember I would take it when I would go to Costco with my mom.”

A third-generation player with the game in his veins, Armbruster is in the middle of his third season as a Bruin.

The defensive midfielder logged over 2,000 minutes on the field his first two seasons in his Belmont kit. This 2021-22 season, he has started eight of his eleven played matches and stands on 1 point after an assist in Belmont’s crushing 5-0 victory against the Virginia Military Institute Oct. 2.

Although the soccer genes come from Armbruster’s father and grandfather, the midfielder credits his older brother, Gerry, as one of his biggest influences in the sport, filling the roles of trainer, teammate and coach over the years.

“He’s just been with me through all the peaks and valleys of my career,” the younger Armbruster said. “I’ve always been able to turn to him and trust him.”

Despite growing up the youngest sibling of three, Armbruster easily takes on the mantle of big brother with his Belmont teammates.

“As one of the older guys, I just have a general responsibility whether it’s in practice, in games or just off the field, to make the guys around me better and hold them accountable.

Fellow team co-captain Niccolo Dagnoni applauds Armbruster for the work he puts into the sport. Whether he’s organizing practices during the summer off-season or making sure the newcomers settle into the Bruin culture, Armbruster sets a humble but high standard for the team, Dagnoni said.

“He doesn’t think he’s better than anyone else,” Dagnoni said. “Just very respectful to everyone and with his intelligence, it just puts him in a spot where everyone respects him.

Armbruster’s intelligence stretches far beyond the field too, as the Bruin has already secured a full-time auditor position at the Deloitte office in Nashville, which he will start after finishing his three-semester master’s program in accounting this December.

Armbruster’s name also recently featured on Belmont’s news site as Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Scholar of the Year, showing that high ambitions and hard work pay off.

But the student-athlete also runs on passion for his sport. As Armbruster the soccer player, he went from a lad kicking around with his brother and friends to something more fulfilling

“Soccer has given me things like purpose, drive, community and something to strive for,” he said.

“I never feel like it’s about me. I’m not even really focused about me; I always have this feeling that, in everything I do, I’m representing something bigger than myself.

No. 6 JP Armbruster celebrating his teammate’s golden goal against Georgia State University Sep. 10. Belmont Vision / Jessica Mattsson.

Glad to be part of Belmont’s hardworking soccer program, Armbruster said head coach David Costa and his assistant coaching staff have turned the team’s less-than-stellar reputation around in just a few years.

“I had the feeling that we were building a really strong program and I was really excited by that thought,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of it.”

After spending two years on the bench at the University of Louisville struggling with the position switch assigned by his then-coach, the Nashville native never thought he would call Belmont home, but is grateful for how his transfer all turned out.

“I was still looking at other schools to transfer to, and then coach Costa called me and we had a great conversation,” Armbruster said. “He convinced me to come on and visit, so I made this 20-minute drive from my house to Belmont.

“Honestly, I fell in love with it. I’d never experienced Belmont like that.”

Armbruster even committed before driving the 20 minutes back, Belmont men’s soccer head coach David Costa said. And the addition has worked in the team’s favor.

“Everything he is, is everything we wanted to build our program on,” Costa said. “He does the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons.”

With or without the words of appreciation, Armbruster just feels lucky to have found a community and, in many ways, a family at Belmont, he said.

Because when captain JP Armbruster puts on the No. 6 jersey, he belongs.

PHOTO: Men’s soccer captain JP Armbruster on the field at the victorious East Tennessee University game Sep. 18. Belmont Vision / Nikiah Perry.

This story was written by Jessica Mattsson and Daniela Gonzalez.

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