According to Peninsula College sources, sophomore defender Aaron Jeffery of Safety Bay, Australia, will play his next two seasons for the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Jeffery recently accepted a significant scholarship offer and will enroll and start training at Gonzaga next week.
The former Pirate team captain played his sophomore season at the outside right back position, helping the Peninsula men to the 2012 Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges championship. He was named to the 2012 NWAACC West All-Star Team.
“Aaron is a true weapon: he can hit the ball harder than anybody else on the team,” Peninsula head coach Andrew Chapman said.
“To have a player of Aaron’s size and ability play out of the back is something special. He was a true leader for us for two years. Aaron was known for hitting the big long crossing ball out of the back. We wish him the best of luck and know he will do very well at Gonzaga.”
Jeffery will continue his career in the NCAA West Coast Conference under head coach Einar Thorarinsson, who is in his 18th year as head coach of the Zags.
“My goal by coming to America was to play at Division I college soccer and through two years of hard work and commitment, I've finally achieved it, thanks to coach Chapman for giving me the opportunity to play for Peninsula College,” Jeffery said.
“It really does prove that if you push yourself, not only on the field but also in the classroom, it will finally pay off in the long run.”
Jeffery said he is very excited to play at an institution of Gonzaga’s stature.
“I know Gonzaga is a renowned and prestigious university, not only for its academics but for its athletics, too,” he said.
“I really think by going there, I’ll not only improve as a soccer player, but I’ll mature and improve as a person, too. I'm really excited to be given the opportunity to get a great education on top of competing against some of the best college soccer teams in the nation.”
Jeffery had high praise for his preparation as a Pirate.
“I couldn't have asked for two better years at Peninsula,” he said. “The school is great, the facilities are outstanding, especially our soccer field, and I really think the college is going in the right direction. What really made my experience so memorable were the friends I made and the people I met. Everyone is so close among the two soccer teams, so it’s just like having one big family, which really made my time here so enjoyable.”
Jeffery credited the rigorous year-round training schedule for his success. Peninsula has advanced physical education classes that allow athletes to train in the off-season.
“To be given the opportunity to train every day with a great bunch of talented players, which in the end proved its worth because we topped it off by winning the championship,” he said.
“Quite honestly, I wish I could play another two years here.”