SAN JOSE -- Earthquakes rookie Adam Jahn had the fashion sense to pick soccer over swimming although both of his parents coached aquatics.
"He tried swimming. He didn't like the Speedos," said father Tom Jahn, formerly UCLA's coach.
Adam's mom, Barbara Jahn, is the women's coach at UC Davis. But Adam and older sister Erica played soccer in college.
"Swimming is a great sport," said Tom Jahn, who now oversees rental properties. "But little boys would rather go out and compete with each other."
Jahn, 22, hasn't stopped competing on the soccer field and could earn his first Major League Soccer start Saturday at Columbus if veteran striker Mike Fucito's injured foot isn't ready.
Jahn wants the chance.
If coach Frank Yallop "calls on me, I'm there," he said two days after his late-game heroics helped San Jose defeat the New York Red Bulls 2-1.
Jahn (pronounced John) scored a goal with seven minutes left and then took the shot that led to Chris Wondolowski's game-winning penalty kick in extra time.
It was a nice moment for the 6-foot-3 target man who a year ago wasn't sure if he'd play professionally. Jahn had had just completed consecutive losing seasons at Stanford that led to the resignation of coach Bret Simon.
"I was thinking I will finish my degree so I could go get a job," Jahn said.
Everything changed last fall under new Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn. Jahn got a career-high 13 goals in his senior
"Somewhere -- anywhere," he said.
The Quakes took him in the supplemental draft because they were familiar with the player from El Macero near Davis. Tom Jahn would have been equally happy if it never happened.
"I would just as soon that he graduated and moved on," he said.
Jahn needs four classes to earn a degree in management science and engineering but isn't sure when he can take the necessary courses. He also plans to earn a minor in German after studying abroad.
For now it's all about soccer.
"Not to try to make the most of it was a decision that would have haunted him," his father said
Jahn realizes he must seize his chance while seasoned target men Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart are out with injuries. When the Earthquakes major contributors return, newcomers such as Jahn are expected to be pushed aside.
Whatever happens Jahn plans to plug away like he always has done. From the moment Gunn arrived at Stanford last year he realized how much the lean, blond striker wanted to improve. The Cardinal coach felt Jahn lacked self confidence but not talent.
"He's got a wonderfully high soccer IQ," Gunn said. "He's got an incredible first touch and also he's got a great aerial presence that he hadn't maximized in the past."
The last part could change as Yallop and his staff have a reputation for developing young talent.
"He's nimble, he's not afraid," Yallop said.
And so far the coach isn't afraid to see what the kid can do.
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.