By John Bombatch
JAMESTOWN — A trio of Greeneview Rams boys soccer players each signed their National Letter of Intent to take their talents to the collegiate level, on Friday.
Chris Jones and Josh Jenkins both signed to attend Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, while Jerisyn Gilliam is headed to Ohio Christian University in Circleville.
It wasn’t until Saturday that Jones and Jenkins learned they’d both be attending Shawnee State. Jenkins had already enrolled in the school’s Video Game Design program, but hadn’t considered playing soccer. But when he learned that Jones was going to be on the team, he looked into playing soccer as well.
All three have played soccer together either for the Rams or at the club level throughout the years.
“All three of them are extremely hard workers, but they all have different talents and skill sets,” assistant coach Shawn Jenkins, Josh’s father, said. “Chris is probably one of the fastest players we had and one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever coached. Jerisyn has a lot of skill. He’s got a lot of soccer intelligence and he works extremely hard. Josh and Chris are the two fastest kids on the team. He works really hard at what he does as well.
“All three of them have a winning attitude, and they wanted to continue that at the college level. They were part of a class that won more games than any other class in Greeneview history.”
While they were on the team, the Rams made it to the district finals three years in a row and won the district title this past season. During the 2015-‘16 campaign, Greeneview claimed Ohio Heritage Conference, Sectional and District titles before losing in the regional semifinals to no. 1-ranked Summit Country Day. The Rams finished with a 16-3-1 overall record.
“I get to go play soccer and do stuff I love, it’s a dream of mine,” said Gilliam moments after signing to become a student-athlete for the Trailblazers. “I decided to go there after I made a visit to the campus. Coach (Josh) Murton and coach (Brock) Gill made it easy for me to want to go to school there.”
Gilliam plans on majoring in Business Administration.
Jenkins seemed as if it hadn’t quite sunk in that he was headed to Shawnee State to not only pursue his game design major, but to play soccer, too.
“Oh yeah, it’s exciting. I didn’t really think that I would be playing soccer, but I’m happy for doing it. It’s going to be fun,” he said.
Jones also liked his visit to the Shawnee State campus. He said he met a number of the players during his trip to Portsmouth.
“After looking at their Pre-Med program, I felt like it was going to be good fit for me. And I played with some of the other soccer guys and we all seemed to mesh together right away, and we all got along really well. I just felt like I’d have a lot of fun there.”
Both programs are National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)-member schools.
Ohio Christian finished with an 8-11 overall record last season, and fifth place in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. In Murton’s eight years at the school, the Trailblazers have a 102-63-8 overall record.
Shawnee State plays in the Mid-South Conference. They were 6-13, 2-5 and sixth in the MSC last season. Ron Goodson has coached the program for 17 years now.
Jones, Jenkins and Gilliam make four Greeneview student athletes who have had signing ceremonies at the school this week. Girls soccer standout Jasmine Rockhold signed to attend the University of Charleston (W.Va.) on Wednesday.