Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
WHEELERSBURG — Goals on goals on goals … and an abundance of success.
That’s what Aaron Jolly has brought to Wheelersburg’s soccer program in the past four years.
This past season was, arguably, the best that the Pirates have ever had. Jolly was the ringleader of the group, leading the team to its first-ever state semifinal appearance.
But all good things must come to an end.
While Jolly has played his last game at Wheelersburg, his soccer career is far from over. The uber-talented forward signed to continue his academic and athletic careers at Mount Vernon Nazarene University this past week.
“From the start, MVNU always seemed to be a great option,” Jolly said. “[MVNU] coach [Zach] Ganzberg started the process earlier in my career, and really showed his confidence in me. Other things, such as the campus and teammates, added to the many reasons why Mount Vernon was a great fit. I couldn’t be more excited to begin playing.”
Jolly’s name is household in Southern Ohio. He was a three-time All-Ohioan at Wheelersburg and continually made opposing defenses look simply silly.
He did so with a solid supporting cast in place and with the backing of his family and coaches.
“My parents have done a lot to help set up the recruiting process and I can’t thank them enough for that,” Jolly said. “[Wheelersburg] coach [Jon] Estep also helped with the decision process, which was great. It’s an awesome feeling knowing that others are supportive of my decision.”
Jolly ended his career with 117 career goals, a Pirate record. He led Wheelersburg to a 21-1 record this past fall and to the program’s third straight Southern Ohio Conference title.
He also holds school records for fastest goal in a game — eight seconds — most goals in a game with six, and games started with 77.
He scored 48 goals this past fall, which is second most in a season.
Needless to say, his accolades speak for themselves.
“My career at Wheelersburg has been more than I could ask for,” Jolly said. “It’s something that I will truly never forget. Being a part of such a fun, yet successful, group has been amazing. Without high school soccer, my love for the game wouldn’t be as great as it is now. It’s been an amazing ride, yet I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
When Jolly arrives on campus, he’ll be joining a team that was 5-4 this past fall before the season was suspended. In 2019, the Cougars were 11-5-3 with a 5-2-2 mark in the Crossroads League.
Jolly will certainly have the opportunity to contribute immediately. Put simply, when the ball touches his feet, good things happen.
“I’m mainly looking forward to the competitiveness of the college level. It’s certainly different from high school and I can’t wait to take on a new challenge,” Jolly said. “I loved my time at Wheelersburg. However, there comes a point where you are excited for a new opportunity.”