Footballer James Rothstein (’23) commits to Army


Photo provided by James Rothstein

James Rothstein played Tight End and Defensive End for the Amador Valley Dons and looks to put forth his best effort in bringing success to West Point.

Amador Valley’s standout Tight End James Rothstein has committed to play football for the Army Black Knights and serve in the United States Military Academy. Rothstein visited West Point over the summer and took an official visit on Nov. 19, 2022. 

Since entering high school, football has been Rothstein’s top priority, despite him playing baseball and basketball throughout his childhood. He spent all four years playing for Amador’s football program, with two seasons under varsity head coach Danny Jones

“Coach Jones has helped me with the (recruiting) process and he went out of his way to call coaches late at night. He’d stay up until one in the morning talking about other schools and opportunities, and what he needs to see from me,” said Rothstein

Like other Army recruits, Rothstein will finish his education and play football for four years. He must then serve in the military for five years unless his service is deferred for him to play at a professional level

“There’s still a lot of things I need to learn about the military. But when I graduate, (I’ll be) a second lieutenant and making $70,000 as a kid coming right out of college… I get all the benefits like free dental care, and they pay for my health insurance–all that stuff for the rest of my life,” said Rothstein

Initially, Army was not Rothstein’s first choice as he strongly considered committing to San Diego State with longtime teammate Brady Nassar. In the end, West Point’s coaching staff, players, environment, and military benefits cemented his decision to commit to Army. 

“I never really thought I was gonna go there to be honest. (But when) I go there, it sets me up for life. My decision is beyond football. The brotherhood and connections that I’ll make when I go there is something bigger than myself,” said Rothstein.   

Rothstein and Nassar have known each other since their youth basketball competitions in elementary school. The pair quickly grew closer together from dedicating themselves to football to frequently meeting up for workout sessions. 

“When we go against each other, we always get better because we’re both the best at our positions. (James is) a great guy who pushes me to be better because he works hard too,” said Nassar. “It’s just awesome to see because I know how it feels to commit somewhere and for him to do it is really cool.”

Coach Jones has consistently preached the mottos ‘Pound the Rock’ and ‘Big Team, Little Me’ to the program. Overcoming adversity and working together has taught Rothstein the importance of becoming a part of something bigger. 

“When (Rothstein) was a sophomore, he came into my office and asked me about playing quarterback. I remember looking at him up and down and (telling him) ‘if you really put your mind to it and get into the weight room, you could be a really good Tight End or Defensive End.’ He bought into it and ended up working for that. The confidence he gained in himself was through the roof,” said Jones.

From celebrating victories in the locker room to blocking the game-winning kick against cross-town rivals Foothill High School in his senior year, the experiences Rothstein has shared with teammates and coaches are memories he will cherish forever. 

“It’s created a brotherhood with football. When you go through tough workouts and games, it creates a lot of comradery and chemistry as you share the experiences. That Foothill game we won this year, I’ll never forget that because (I did it) with my buddies and all my boys,” said Rothstein.