Growing up, Pierrick Gould spent his weekends and vacations with his family in their second home in Woodstock, visiting from Manhattan to shake off the city life in the Catskills. He played youth soccer in Woodstock from the ages of 5-12 and has returned to the Hudson Valley this summer to play for semi-pro team Stockade FC.
“I’d say I’m more of a country kid than a city kid at heart,” said Gould. “I love nature, and the city is definitely not a place for that. In Woodstock, we had a lot of space, especially when I was young. I liked to run around really exploring nature and in the mornings I would go salamander hunting with my dad. When I was young, we lived by a stream, so we would just go there.”
Tranquility has long been a lure for urban dwellers who’ve found their way to Hudson Valley communities like Woodstock, summers spent along streams, winters on the ski slopes at Belleayre and Hunter mountains. Frequent Catskills respites were a part of Gould’s life up through the sixth grade when his family was in a car accident during a Christmas trip to Colombia.
“Both my parents almost died,” Gould said. “They were in urgent care for basically a week and a half in Columbia, and we had to go back home in a medical jet. That kind of shifted a lot of how we were going to live our lives. As a family, we just needed a reset.”
That reset brought the family from New York City to Los Angeles, though they kept their home in Woodstock and maintained their connection to the tranquility of the Hudson Valley and Gould’s memories of playing youth soccer.
“Those were definitely some of the highlights of my soccer career,” said Gould. “At least in terms of emotion and character building, because that environment in and of itself is just pure fun. Like the coaches, they just want you to have fun and learn what it means to be a teammate and all that kind of stuff. And it’s good to learn that as early as possible, because it gave me the confidence I needed for when I made that transition to club play.”
Gould attended school at Le Lycée Français de New York and Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles, where at a very young age he was exposed to soccer, playing with classmates, many of whom were from Europe where the game is part of the cultural fabric.
“Ever since I was like two we would play street soccer at the park,” he said. “And in Woodstock, I was kind of like the main guy there because a lot of those kids had just started. I just remember having the greatest time, just coming to the games because I wasn’t able to make practices because I was in the city during the week.”
Gould played club soccer for Asphalt Green Soccer Club in New York City, then the LA Breakers FC in Los Angeles, where was named MVP in 2018. And while he excelled on the pitch, he was also an academic whiz in high school — an AP Scholar with Distinction, a four-year member of the honor roll and the salutatorian of Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles’ Class of 2020. He’s just completed his freshman year at Georgetown University, his father’s alma mater, playing on the soccer team earlier this month in the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament, which coincided with finals.
“It was quite a thrilling experience,” Gould said. Georgetown fell 1-0 in the quarterfinals on Monday, May 10 to eventual champion Marshall University, by which time Gould’s summer plans had changed.
“I was definitely going to spend a few weeks (in Woodstock) and then continue my training in LA, but when Stockade reached out, I was super interested…It’s been a really fun experience. The guys are awesome and it’s a chance for you to meet new people…The coaching staff is really fun. I wasn’t planning on spending the whole summer here, but definitely this opened up an opportunity and I wanted to go with it.”
And in the classroom at Georgetown, Gould hasn’t declared a major yet, but he’s planning on focusing on Global Business.
“It’s kind of like a joint program with the (Edmund A. Walsh) School of Foreign Service and the (McDonough) School of Business at Georgetown,” he said. “I’m excited about that.”