What a career it has been for Jackson senior Collin Ghearing.

Surrounded by coaches, school administrators, family, and friends, Ghearing put pen to paper on Wednesday, May 26, making his commitment to play soccer at Findlay University official.

The atmosphere and opportunities Findlay, along with head coach Andy Smyth presented to Ghearing, led him to become an Oiler in the fall.

He was also drawn in because of the school’s nursing program and the team’s competitive mindset.

“They (Findlay) are a great team, and Findlay has a great nursing program,” Ghearing said.

Pursing a degree in the medical field like nursing is a time-intensive challenge on its own, even without competing in a varsity sport in college. But at Findlay, he will be able to study nursing and play soccer, where he will play right outside back for the Oilers.

However, he will enter the fall on a medical redshirt after suffering a knee injury during practice with his travel team in Columbus, Ohio.

“I was hoping to go in and play as a freshman, and I still intend to. But now, I will be a year behind,” said Ghearing. “After I recover from this injury, I plan to work hard, recover, and get back to where I was and start as a freshman at right-outside back. There, they play outside back, pretty much as a wingback.

“I hope to finish at or near the top in assists and help the team win the Great Midwest Athletic Conference championship.”

Although Ghearing has already had surgery to repair the injury, recovery time is eight to nine months. Ghearing says he is rehabbing the knee three days a week.

Ghearing started in all 72 games for the Ironmen, scoring 24 goals and notching 40 assists. He was also part of two sectional championship teams, 2018 and 2019, at Jackson.

Ghearing’s abilities were impressive as soon as he stepped on the field as a freshman at Jackson. He earned All-District honorable mention during his freshman campaign, and from there, he was a three-time All-District First Team honoree and was named to the All-State Second Team his junior season.

Ghearing was also a three-time All-Frontier Athletic Conference player, including FAC player of the year his junior year.

Jackson head coach Lee Lord says Ghearing set himself apart as a leader from his first day as a freshman.

“He started every game he played, so that tells you something when you can come in as a freshman and do that,” Lord said. “We ran everything through him, and he was the glue that held this team together. He was always motivating and pushing his teammates in practice.

“He led by example, and I don’t think you will find anyone who works harder or practices more than Collin. He was always doing everything he could to make himself better, as well as the team. He will be a big loss for us.”

For Ghearing, his time at Jackson High School will always be a part of his life.

“Playing here at Jackson, along with all my best friends, has meant a lot to me,” said Ghearing. “I had three other brothers, who played here, and I got soccer from them.

“It’s sad that it is over. I love the atmosphere here. Football is the bigger sport here at Jackson, but soccer has meant a lot to me. Everyone has helped me with my success, and I don’t think I would be where I am without everyone on the team.”

Ghearing is the son of Todd and Sheri Ghearing.