Carroll College has everything Aryana Jones was looking for — a nursing program, competitive soccer team and, of course, snow.
“Coach informed me it snows out there, and it will be my first time being somewhere where it snows,” the Lathrop High senior said. “I look forward to getting to experience that.”
Jones signed her official letter of intent on Feb. 10, and on Wednesday Lathrop High honored her commitment to the Catholic school based in Helena, Mont. with a special signing ceremony. She has accepted athletic and academic scholarships that will help cover most of her tuition and expenses.
Jones said she considered two other schools but was ultimately drawn to how Carroll College coach David Thorvilson represented his program and the university.
OK, maybe it wasn’t so much about the snow.
“Honestly, the coach was really welcoming, and the way he talked about the college and the soccer program got me really excited,” Jones said, adding that she has not yet had the chance to visit the campus but plans to do so closer to summertime.
“I got to see the campus online, and (Thorvilson) talked about what he had to over in making sure that my schoolwork wouldn’t be affected. That, and also being able to see their training online and everything they do really helped me make my final decision.”
Carroll College is a member of the Cascade Collegiate Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. In 15 seasons under Thorvilson, the Saints have claimed eight overall conference championships — three in the CCC, five in the Frontier Conference.
Carroll College was among the schools Jones targeted for its nursing program. She is an aspiring registered nurse.
“I sent out emails to a bunch of college coaches and a link to a website my dad put together for me showing all of my highlights,” Jones said. “Coach (Thorvilson) was interested in what I’m able to do, and their soccer program works with the nursing program so I figured it was a good fit for me.”
In Jones, the Saints are getting a versatile left-footed winger who played forward for coach Diana Nevarez at Lathrop High and coach Troy Dayak of West Coast Soccer Club but can also play outside back. She scored 22 goals and 11 assists this past winter for Lathrop and made the All-Western Athletic Conference team as a sophomore and junior. Her freshman year, she helped Lathrop qualify for the playoffs for the first time under then-coach Jose Montes.
“It was a really good experience getting to play on varsity since my freshman year, and I got to bond with a lot of girls,” Jones said. “My first year we got to make the playoffs and it got a little rocky after that, but the team really stepped up this year and brought a lot to the table. Even though we didn’t have the season we wanted, I still appreciate all the girls and the coaches.”