Since Jenna Garretson began playing soccer at a young age, her goal was always to continue playing at the collegiate level. This nearly-lifelong dream was realized on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
Surrounded by family, coaches and teammates, Garretson signed her letter of intent to continue her soccer career at Lee University in Cleveland, TN.
"I'm really excited to be able to keep playing in all four years in college," Garretson said. "I've been playing soccer since I was five, so it's really always been there for me."
A standout player during her four years at CHS, Garretson was a versatile athlete for the Lady Raiders. She spent time on defense, midfield and attack and was named District 8-AAA Defender of the Year her sophomore and junior seasons.
In 2019 as a midfielder and attacker, Garretson was named First-team All-District. CHS head coach Lee Xixis said she finished in second place for district Midfielder of the Year in a close vote.
She is also a member of the CHS girls' basketball team and will be with the Lady Raiders for her upcoming senior season.
"She'll be one we'll have to work to replace because she led not only by her words as a captain but then as her actions just as another player," Xixis said. "I think she's equipped with her intensity and abilities that she'll be able to step in and contribute right away."
The Lee University Lady Flames compete in the NCAA Division II Gulf South Conference. Prior to the team's transfer to the NCAA, Lee won four consecutive NAIA national championships from 2008-2011.
Garretson's decision to continue her playing career with the Lady Flames was based on her connection to several of the program's coaches and players.
"I have a lot of friends on the team already because I played in Chattanooga and I played travel ball with a lot of them," Garretson explained. "And then, my coach, the head coach at Lee [Chris Hennessey] was my travel coach my freshman year and then the assistant coach at Lee is now my travel coach and he's been my travel coach from sophomore to senior year."
There were multiple people Garretson wanted to thank for helping her reach this point. These included her parents and family, coaches and teammates, as well as her friends.
For her parents, it was all worth it to see her accomplish becoming a college player.
"They've got a great program, they've got a great coach," Frank Garretson said. "I'm excited for her to go and especially to do something she loves."