Jaran Roste’s growth has been felt on and off the pitch in the community of Bethel


the BUILD program is a comprehensive two-year bridging program at Bethel for students with developmental disabilities that helps them prepare for an independent life after school. Roste didn’t know at the time how close this would become to her heart in her life, but others could see it. He recalls being asked by one of the professionals in the program if he was studying special education when she saw him interacting with the students in the class.

No, he wasn’t. “One day you will work in special education,” she replied.

“I didn’t really understand what she meant, but I think I’m just connecting with the students,” Roste said. “I see them as peers. These are students who have the opportunity to go to Bethel like me. I think I learn more from them than from anyone else… It’s just the way they choose to live and the joy they experience every day. I think it’s lost in the lives of a lot of people today. I know it can be for mine, so seeing how they live their lives and trying to emulate is what sparked my interest in working with students with intellectual disabilities.

For Roste, the BUILD program and his work with students and other people with disabilities through organizations like Special Olympics have become more important to him than his long list of accomplishments on the football field.

Roste was Alexandria’s starting quarterback from 2014-2016. He holds career records in Alexandria for passing yards (5,111) and touchdowns (51). His 88 rushing touchdowns and overall are 41 more than Alexandria’s second all-time leader to Carter Steffensmeier.

Roste went to the University of Minnesota to play football after graduating from high school, but transferred from the Gophers in 2018 after a year. He quickly made an impact at the Division III level with Bethel where he posted a 26-7 record as a starting quarterback in three seasons. These seven losses were suffered by ranked opponents.

Roste led the Royals to a record 8-3 last fall throwing for 2,631 yards and 21 touchdowns for just 6 interceptions with a completion percentage of 65.47. He also ran for 455 yards and 13 touchdowns on 103 carries.

“I would consider it the best season I’ve had playing football,” said Roste. “If you look at the numbers, but also how I felt on the pitch with the group of guys. I’ve never been to this place to lead a team since high school that year. It all kind of lined up where I had a great season and the team played exceptionally. ”

Bethel played eighth at Central College on Nov. 20 in the NCAA Division III playoffs and lost 61-35. Roste threw for 353 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions that day, along with a 65-yard rush and two more touchdowns.

A quick attack on Central College was led by Division III Player of the Year, Blaine Hawkins. The senior quarterback scored 7 touchdowns in the playoff game against the Royals.

Roste was a semifinalist for the Gagliardi Trophy which Hawkins won in December and which goes to NCAA Division III’s most outstanding football player. It is an honor that recognizes not only excellence in athletics, but also academics and community service.


Jaran Roste, from Alexandria, struggles in a 2021 season match for Bethel University.  Roste led the Royals to a record 8-3 last fall throwing for 2,631 yards and 21 touchdowns for just 6 interceptions with a completion percentage of 65.47.  He also ran for 455 yards and 13 touchdowns on 103 carries.  Roste recently accepted a full-time job with the BUILD program at Bethel and as of December 28 he was still deciding whether or not to return to football for the 2022 season with one year of eligibility remaining.  Photo by Carl Schmuland / Bethel Athletics

Jaran Roste, from Alexandria, struggles in a 2021 season match for Bethel University. Roste led the Royals to a record 8-3 last fall throwing for 2,631 yards and 21 touchdowns for just 6 interceptions with a completion percentage of 65.47. He also ran for 455 yards and 13 touchdowns on 103 carries. Roste recently accepted a full-time job with the BUILD program at Bethel and as of December 28 he was still deciding whether or not to return to football for the 2022 season with one year of eligibility remaining. Photo by Carl Schmuland / Bethel Athletics

It was the latest in a long list of off-field recognitions Roste received last season after more than 500 hours of community service during his time at Bethel. In September, he was one of 22 footballers from all divisions of college football to be named to the Good Works team of the Allstate American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).

“For me that’s what it’s all about, it’s the impact we can have as student athletes off the pitch,” said Roste. “What happens in the field works for itself if you work on it. Off the pitch we can make such a difference. It’s cool to be recognized for it, but just because you are recognized in the Good Works team doesn’t mean you stop doing good works.

Roste called his move to Bethel and his three-plus years in school and in the football program everything he could have imagined and more. His selection to the Good Works squad was the ninth consecutive season that a player from Bethel has been chosen for that honor.

“I had this example during my freshman year at Bethel,” said Roste. “It’s one of those things where it’s on our schedule, but the guys just do it. They want to be servant leaders just like Jesus Christ was, and that’s sort of what our program mimics.

“Our coach always says, ‘What kind of man do you want to be? What kind of father, husband do you want to be? That is what matters. The person who showed up four years ago on the Bethel campus, I’m a different guy now for the better.


Jaran Roste

Jaran Roste

This is why Roste is delighted to have the opportunity to stay in Bethel. After taking an acting position with the BUILD program in the fall, he recently accepted a full-time position with the program. Roste will teach while also being in charge of finding student internship opportunities in local businesses in the Twin Cities region.

It’s a 40 hour a week job, which means Roste has a big decision to make with football. He graduated in the spring of 2021 and took graduate courses last fall while playing. Roste still has one year of sporting eligibility.

The question is whether he believes he can fully commit to another full year of training for the coming season while still holding a full-time job.

“So can I do four lifts at 6 a.m. a week, then work a 40 hour work week and be full out through spring and summer?” That’s what I thought about, but you only play football once, ”said Roste. “Once I’m done I’m done… I would probably say lean over to come back, but I keep saying that January and January are coming pretty quickly now.” I’ll have to make a decision soon.

Roste called football a vehicle for becoming the person he wanted to be in college. Results on the field stood out, but it was the way the game helped shape him off the field that would make it difficult to retire with an opportunity to come back for another year.

“Football took me to Bethel,” said Roste. “Football surrounded me with a bunch of guys in high school and college who I love. I’ll be in the weddings of the guys I’ve played football with, and it’s just building those relationships that matters. It puts me in the position I am today, and I can’t think of a better position than where I am right now.


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