Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

June 21, 2013

Boyd goalkeeper ‘jazzed’ about Rio Grande soccer

ASHLAND — As of Thursday afternoon, Jaz Stephenson is officially living the dream.

Boyd County’s starting goalkeeper of the past three seasons signed a National Letter of Intent to attend University of Rio Grande, a perennial NAIA soccer power.

Stephenson set his sights on college soccer back during his youth league days.

“It’s always been a dream for me, since I was a little kid,” he said. “I never imagined that I would be on a team that good.”

During Scott Morrissey’s 24 years as head coach, the RedStorm has enjoyed a .760 winning percentage including a national championship in 2003 and runner-up finish in 2008. Morrissey’s tenure also includes 11 conference and seven NAIA regional titles.

Boyd County coach William Ferguson takes his team to Rio Grande’s summer camp each year and is well aware of the small Ohio school’s rich soccer background.

“It’s a big step for our program and a great opportunity for Jaz,” Ferguson said. “As far as soccer, Rio Grande is one of the best in the country in NAIA. They are always in contention, making deep runs in the national tournament.”

Stephenson wants to make a few runs with them.

“The tradition is great,” he said. “I’m happy to be a part of it.”

The All-Area player signed on Rio Grande’s campus and also took part in freshman orientation Thursday.          

He already feels at home there because of Boyd County’s past visits.

“They’ve seen me play goalkeeper quite a bit,” Stephenson said. “I’ve been on the All-Star team at camp the past three years.”

During his senior season as Boyd County’s keeper, Stephenson allowed only 1.7 goals per game as the Lions went 12-8-1 against one of their toughest schedules. The team finished as region runner-up.

“Jaz has a good, solid foundation,” Ferguson said. “He’s so athletic. He could make some unbelievable stops. You always feel a little more confident with Jaz back there.”

Ferguson knows Rio Grande’s coaching staff and is looking forward to seeing how Stephenson develops on the next level.

“It will be a big challenge for Jaz,” Boyd County’s coach said. “Their program has some top quality players every year from Brazil, England and all over.”

Stephenson can’t wait to get started.

“Their coaches have already given me tips on how I should train,” he said. “They have really vigorous practices. I’ve gone through a couple of them.”

Off the field, Stephenson said he plans to study networking and computer engineering.

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0724putnamwebshot.JPG Laying the foundation Workers are finishing the foundation for the locker room on the home side of Putnam Stadium on Tuesday. The Ashland Tomcats open the football season on Aug. 22 against Newport Catholic.

    July 23, 2014

  • Genuine throwback

    Todd Eastham is disproving the old cliche, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

    July 23, 2014

  • MARK MAYNARD: Looking for those who inspire

    Inspirtation, they say, comes from within. It is defined as an inspiring or animating action or influence.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0722KYPGA_152.jpg Jones tops Gillum in playoff at Eagle Trace

    Ashland senior golfer Logan Jones didn't shoot his average Monday.
    He didn't mind.
    His three-over par 75 and one-hole playoff win over Elliott County junior Ryan Gillum gave him the Boys Open division title in the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour stop at Morehead State University's Eagle Trace Golf Course.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • 102213_329a.jpg Raceland tabs Clark as new girls basketball coach

    Jason Clark has a reputation of being — to use his word — “passionate” on the Raceland volleyball sideline.
    He plans to bring that same approach as the Lady Rams’ new basketball coach.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0305region2_389.jpg Pass the Mayo: East sophomore PG, Lady Raiders preparing for winter run

    East Carter sophomore point guard Kristen Mayo has played basketball for as long as she can remember.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0718spinda.jpg Steelers super fan Spinda to be recognized in Florida

    Shawn Spinda doesn’t have to use speech to profess his passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    All it takes is a quick glance for a person to get the picture.
    But to absorb the whole picture, you’ll need to clear your schedule.
    Spinda is one of several fanatics who will be recognized at the Sports Fans Conference in Orlando, Florida, which is set for Aug. 28-Sept. 1 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. He is a “What a Fan” NFL Fan of the Year nominee.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703rfLL0204.jpg Little League State Baseball: Ready to run

    Morehead 11- and 12-year-old All-Star baseball manager Toby Gardner collectively likened his team to a racehorse.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0717prokick1.jpg Prokicker.com camp Eleven Ashland Tomcat football players were part of the Ray Guy Prokicker.com camp at Huntington High. The high-profile camps are put on all over the country. Rick Sang, an Ashland native who befriended Guy 20 years ago, is the camp's founder.

    July 16, 2014

  • 0716fbpractice0105.jpg Four-down territory: Making summer football practice pit stops

    ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?
    The popular Monday night catchphrase filled my room on Tuesday morning as my new alarm sounded off at 7 a.m.

    July 16, 2014 5 Photos