Jones blazes trail for White Hall soccer

WHITE HALL — Goaltender Cody Jones is the first-ever player from the White Hall boys soccer team to sign with a college team.

On Monday morning, Jones signed with Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge.

“It’s an honor being the first one from White Hall, and I hope I am one of many to come,” he said. “I look forward to going up there this fall and playing soccer.”

If the rest of the White Hall soccer team follows Jones’ lead, Bulldogs’ coach Don Malone thinks he will be the first of many to play soccer collegiately.

“Cody is one of those that you wish you had 10 or 11 just like him because he is a fantastic player, and we couldn’t have picked a better one than Cody to blaze the trail,” he said. “He consistently figures out a way to win games for us.”

Jones has already left an impression on his future coach, Shane Stolz. During a tryout this fall, Jones caught Stolz’s eye for many reasons.

“His work ethic stood out, number one, and his attitude was good,” he said. “He was a team player and got to know the players. “Then on top of that, he made some good saves and we were looking to bring in a goaltender.”

White Hall is 9-3 this year and Jones has started all 12 games. He has five shutouts, has faced 74 shots on goal and has allowed just nine goals.

Stolz said he sees Jones as the future in between the net for Williams Baptist.

“He has a really good chance to push the senior goaltender, and he is going to learn a lot that first year,” he said. “If he learns a lot that year, then he will be next in line. When we found him, we couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Jones was also getting looks from Mid-Continent College in Mayfield, Ky., but after trying out with Williams Baptist, he canceled his tryout with Mid-Continent.

“After the tryout, I was pretty much dead-set on going there,” he said. “I loved the environment, the small town and the small college. The people there were great and I was treated like one of them.

“There was a time I did not think I was going to get a scholarship, so I am blessed to get one. I am just going to try my heart out and whatever happens, happens.”