When one truly loves something, they’ll do all that they can in order to give back to it.
Over the course of their time in the Wheelersburg community, the Jarvis family has proven to be quite successful in the sport of soccer. Todd Jarvis, after toiling away and fighting for the Pirates to have a girls soccer program for many years, has established a winning culture that is undeniable with back-to-back regional appearances in the bag and more likely coming in the near future.
That love for the game has been passed down to each of his two kids, Braxton and Bergan. Like their father, the pair were humble, but confident and determined, inside the soccer realm — which led to a great deal of individual and team success for the duo.
Now, Braxton will get a chance to build a program with the philosophies that he has learned over his 25 years of living. The former Wheelersburg star, who played at Capital University in Columbus before transferring to Shawnee State, was named as the newest head coach of the West boys soccer program on May 4.
For Jarvis, the opportunity is one that has been a long time coming. After all, the 25-year old wants to continue to grow the game of soccer in Southeast Ohio, as guys like Corey Claxon, Josh Keeney, Paul Boll, and his father, among many others, have done before him.
“When I went away, I was very blessed with the opportunity to see the quality of soccer that Capital University had,” Jarvis said. “It really opened my eyes. So when I came back home, I had a vision that involved growing the game down in Southeast Ohio, because there’s so much potential in the game of soccer down here, and the area doesn’t get the respect that we really deserve. It’s very exciting to be able to begin a clean slate at West Portsmouth, and we’re establishing stability together that I believe the soccer program needs. I just want to be the best soccer coach that I can be, and give the kids ample amounts of opportunities to grow not only as a person, but as a player as well.”
At Wheelersburg, Jarvis proved to be one of the most successful student-athletes in the history of the boys soccer program as Jarvis went from scoring seven goals and accumulating five assists (19 total points) over his first two years of play to notching 21 goals and 28 assists as a junior in 2010 en route to 70 points.
The talented offensive standout then amassed an astounding 39 goals and 15 assists in his senior season as the 2012 graduate ultimately obtained All-SOC and All-Southeast District Player of the Year honors with the Pirates, and capped off his own storied soccer career with Division III First-Team All-State honors by leading Wheelersburg, along with head coach Paul Boll, to a 55-15-7 record and accumulating 67 goals and 48 assists for a whopping 182 points over his entire high school career.
The love for soccer, however, never ceased. In fact, it only grew.
After playing at NCAA Division III Capital, then SSU, Jarvis assisted newly-minted head coach Jon Estep with the Pirates in 2015 and 2016, then departed the high school game this past season to help build the First Capital Football Club program in Chillicothe this past season.
However, the high school game never was far removed from his own heart. When the “itch” came back to coach again, Jarvis, following through on the advice that Wheelersburg head football coach Rob Woodward had given him, jumped at the chance to coach the Senators when the opportunity opened up — because Jarvis saw West as a place where he could build his own coaching tendencies.
“(Rob) Woodward challenged me,” Jarvis said. “He said, ‘Go somewhere where you don’t know anybody and where you’re unfamiliar with the area, because that’s where you’re going to grow the most and it’s where you’re going to form your coaching philosophies the most. You’ll grow as a coach and as a person that way.’ West was a very uncomfortable position for me because I didn’t have any ties to there. When I saw that the position was open, I jumped on it. I wanted to go where I was out of my comfort zone because I want to be a great coach. I feel like coaching at West will allow me to not only challenge West, but challenge myself. I really thank him for that advice, because that’s something that has always stuck with me.”
Of course, Braxton’s own father has played a big role in his own development to this point, as well.
Todd, in fact, was right with Braxton as the Jarvis’ carved out Braxton’s very first parent meeting earlier this month — a great tool to have, especially from a head coach that has gone 54-10-8 with three SOC II Championships and two Division III District Championships in his four seasons at the helm of the Wheelersburg girls soccer program.
“My Dad (Todd) has been really influential in my whole life for the past 25 years, but he’s also been very influential with helping me out as a coach. I’m very thankful to have a Dad like him. He’s been very helpful in terms from paperwork and giving me direction to advice on coaching, such as how to handle certain situations as far as possible discipline that may arise in the future. He definitely helped me out in the parents’ meeting as far as what I should incorporate in those parent meetings. He’s just done a phenomenal job with the girls soccer program at Wheelersburg. They’re having tremendous success. He had a vision years ago to get a girls program going for years, and finally, for the 2014-15 school year, his labor and hard work to get that going bore fruit. He’s been very influential with me. I can’t thank him enough for all that he’s done for me. Words can’t describe it, honestly.”
However, make no mistake about it — there will have to be plenty of labor put into this year’s version of the Senators.
Not only will West be losing 11 seniors from its 26-player roster in 2017 — including Chase Lenegar, Uriah Van Dyke, multi-sport stars Brandon Moore and Jordan Frasure, and last, but not least, Tiffin signee Dalton Meyers — the Senators will have to make the move from Division III to Division II in the boys soccer realm, which will make a tough postseason road even tougher than normal.
However, Jarvis sees an opportunity for West, who will have no senior lettermen and only three junior lettermen returning to this year’s unit, as a way for the very young Senators to start fresh and obtain essentially three full seasons of work without a litany of roster changes that will affect the program’s building blocks.
“I did some research before I took the position, and from that, I knew that we were going to have to replace a good amount of seniors from last year,” Jarvis said. “However, what’s great about this opportunity is having the young core of boys that we’re going to have, and grow them individually as well as from a team standpoint. It’s going to be great having them for the next couple of years and be able to teach them the style of soccer that I’m trying to implement in this area. It’s going to take some time, but we have a good opportunity with a group of young guys that we’re looking to grow as people and as players. We do lose a lot in terms of experience, but this is going to be a clean slate for them and for me. I look at it as a good opportunity for them to step up in the situations that will arise as the season progresses.”
It also helps that Jarvis will have what he refers to as arguably the greatest boys soccer player to ever come out of Wheelersburg helping him. Bryan Craft, who scored 35 goals as a senior in 2004 and led the Pirates to a 15-2-1 overall record, will serve as the 25-year old’s lone assistant, which gives West a young and infectious staff full of soccer knowledge and playing experience.
“Bryan’s going to be a great asset,” Jarvis said. “He brings a lot of wisdom and a lot of maturity to the game. He was influential to the development of talent as a coach in the Wheelersburg feeder ranks, and I believe that he will do a phenomenal job with us. That’s one of the big things there, because when I was a player at Wheelersburg, I was fortunate to player under great coaches and staffs. I want to define a solid staff to build this program on, and Bryan’s going to be one of those guys to help do that. It’s going to be an awesome ride and opportunity for us. I’m looking forward to working and coaching with him.”
But regardless of the shape of the lineup, the overall practices on a day-to-day basis, or who gets the greatest shine from an attention standpoint, Jarvis already knows that the effort is one that will have to be of the team variety.
“It’s going to have to be a team effort,” Jarvis said. “Everybody’s going to have to work together from the top down. I told the parents at our first team meeting, ‘It starts with you guys.’ They have to buy in and their sons have to buy in. I’m bought in. Bryan’s bought in. But we need everybody together. It takes a group of people to reach a common goal as a team, and if we can get everybody to buy in, we can build something really special at Portsmouth West. I can see it and feel it.”
And if that winning attitude is instilled from all standpoints not only on the pitch, but off of it, Jarvis knows that everything else will fall into place.
“One of my biggest philosophies is that if you take care of the individual and grow them, not only inside the soccer realm, but outside of it, the results are going to come,” Jarvis said. “I told the parents, ‘I’m not here to promise you 1,000 SOC titles or district championships. I’m here to grow your son and help mold him into a man so that when he leaves Portsmouth West, he can be able to be a valuable asset to society.’”
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @KColleyPDT