STEPHENS CITY — Jessica Poole knew right away Alderson Broaddus University was the place for her.
The Sherando senior girls soccer player signed her letter of intent Wednesday to play girls soccer at the college. She said she took her first visit at Alderson Broaddus, a Division II school, at the start of her junior year and fell in love with it.
“I liked literally everything about it,” Poole said before Sherando’s soccer game last Thursday. “It’s a small school. It’s a very small school actually. I liked that it’s kind of the middle of nowhere. It’s kind of hidden away. I liked the coach a lot and the people there are really nice. I think I will have a lot of fun.”
The school is located in Philippi, West Virginia and they compete in the Mountain East Conference. The Battlers are coached by Jaron Hulme, who took over the program last year after being an assistant coach there for two years.
Poole, a defender on Sherando’s team, said she looked at other schools but Alderson Broaddus was always her first choice. She said it had always been a dream to play soccer in college.
“It’s exciting,” Poole said. “It’s definitely going to be difficult, but I’m confident. And I think I’m going to be able to compete with them.”
Poole said she gave her verbal commitment to Alderson Broaddus in September, the day after she received her acceptance letter from the school.
Poole, who will be going on a partial scholarship, said she’s glad that she has it out of the way and can focus on her senior season at Sherando.
The Battlers went 1-16 last year, including 1-13 in the MEC. Poole said that Hulme has told her he plans on putting her at defensive-mid next season. She said one of her goals for next year is to start.
“I definitely want to start,” Poole said. “(Hulme) told me that he thinks I will be a starter next year, but I still want to prove that to everybody — prove that to myself.”
Sherando coach Rob Kilmer said that he believes Poole will do well at the collegiate level.
“She’s excelled everywhere that she’s gone — through (travel team Winchester) United, through high school,” Kilmer said. “Why should college be any different?”
Kilmer said Poole is the first Sherando girl soccer player to play at the collegiate level since 2010. He said that Poole’s energy is one of the things that allows her to be successful.
“Probably one of her strengths is she has an unbelievable motor,” Kilmer said. “She can run all day and all night. Her pace from the start until the end of the game stays the same.”
Poole said she already has a good relationship with some of her future teammates and she can’t wait to play with them next season.
“The girl I stayed with on my recruiting visit, she’s a junior, and she took me to a lot of different places,” Poole said. “We went roller skating and did a bunch of stuff, went cliff jumping and got to go see one of their games. The whole team accepts me already. I talk to them all the time. They’re all really excited. I feel like it will be a really good mesh once I get there.”