The Harrison Goblin soccer team made a trip to the Class 4A State Soccer Tournament finals last season.
That would not have been possible without the man in the net taking care of business.
That man in the net is Rilee Jones. On Wednesday, Jones signed a national letter-of-intent to play soccer next season at John Brown University.
The Golden Eagles had an easy time in selecting Jones to be a part of their team. As a junior, Jones paced the Goblins to a 20-5-1 record and a second place finish in the state tournament. He had 13 shutouts last season and only gave up 19 goals in the 26 games.
“Jones is a top-notch keeper,” Harrison coach Chris Pratt commented. “He’s one of the best to have played at Harrison. He is still quite raw and will continue to improve at the college level. I’m looking forward to seeing what he becomes over the next 4 years.”
Heading into his senior season, Jones and the Goblin have high expectations for a successful season.
The selection of John Brown was an easy choice for Jones.
“I like how close the campus is,” he said. “I like how it feels like home.”
At JBU, the goalie will be right at home as he will be in the box there as well.
There are a few shortcomings to his game that he knows will have to expand for the collegiate level.
“I need to work on foot work and to expand my IQ of the game,” he said.
While in school, Jones will be majoring in business and accounting. He hopes to land a position as an accountant for a law firm.
The game of soccer is a learning tool for the senior.
“I like how you can meet new people and learn from each of your teammates,” he said. “Soccer has taught me leadership and to always think on the positive side.”
Even though Jones has been on the soccer pitch since he was three-years old, he does have a memory that sticks out.
“Last season winning in the state semifinals to send us to the finals,” he said. “Playing at Razorback Stadium for the championship is a wonderful memory.”
Jones is not a one-sport star. He was also a valuable member of the Goblin football team that won three consecutive conference championships. He is also a member of the National Honor Society at Harrison High School.
When it comes to awards, Jones has had his share of those as well. In soccer, he has been All-District three years. He was All-State one year. He made the All-Arkansas Prep Freshman Team.
The soccer season begins in weeks and he will be a four-year starter for the Goblins and can undoubtedly add more honors to his list.
In football he has been a three-year starter and was All-District and All-State two seasons.
Jones is the son of Richard and Melissa Jones.
As he moves to Siloam Springs in August, Jones will be missing Harrison High School.
“I am going to miss seeing my friends every day,” he said. “I am going to miss being able to hang out with them every day.”
An accomplishment of this magnitude is not accomplished without a lot of help. Jones wanted to thank some individuals for their support.
“I want to thank God, my family, coaches and my teachers,” he said.