The soccer relationship between Chris Golden and his daughter, Jillian, has been a complex one. Chris is not only Jillian’s father, but he is also her coach and athletic director.
Wearing three hats at once can be tricky for the Southold/Greenport girls soccer coach and Greenport athletic director, but he seems to have navigated it well.
“Sometimes it could be a little unsettling,” he said, “but overall, I always respected that, A, she’s my daughter, and I’ve always had a lot of respect for her as a player, her knowledge of the game.”
Jillian’s knowledge and skills are taking the high-scoring forward to the next level. It’s the same with another Greenport High School senior, defensive midfielder Mateo Arias Roldan. Both signed on with NCAA Division III teams at a signing ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the school — Golden with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Roldan with SUNY/Purchase.
Both players have been six-year varsity players (and starters for five of them) for their high school teams.
Jillian, an All-State first-team player in 2017, amassed 54 goals and 24 assists over her high school career, playing in four county finals, two regional finals and a state semifinal.
“There was a lot of pressure on her to score and she handled that very, very well,” Chris said. “So, I was always appreciative of that. She gave a hundred and 10 percent every time she was on the field.”
John Jay (appropriately nicknamed the Bloodhounds), which is located in upper Manhattan, was a natural choice for Jillian, who will major in forensic science.
“I picked John Jay because I thought that it would be the perfect school for me,” she said. “It’s in the city, so there’s a lot of sights and sounds and things to do.”
Roldan, a versatile All-County player who can play any field position, bagged 13 goals and 15 assists in his time with the Porters.
Roldan, whose pre-calculus class attended the signing ceremony and took photos, said he selected Purchase because it has a “nice campus, it was close to home and I got the chance to play soccer there. I’m pretty excited just to experience a whole new level of school and sports.”
Chris Golden said: “Mateo can play anywhere, but he was used more in midfield and more in that holding midfield role. Really, things revolved around Mateo, the flow of the game, the pace of the game. His technical ability is as good as anyone I’ve seen come out of Greenport. He’s extremely proficient with the ball. His decision-making, relative to where he is on the field, is excellent. He’s able to slow the game down when it needs to be. He’s able to speed it up when it needs to be.”
Following the ceremony, Jillian Golden said she felt relief. “Finally, the college process is over because it’s stressful and everything else, but I’m just super excited and super happy and I don’t regret my decision at all,” she said. “This is where I want to go and play the next four years and I know that I’m going to be really happy.”
Oh, and she had one final parting thought: “I think John Jay’s going to be the team to beat next year, that’s all I can say.”
Photo caption: Greenport senior soccer players Jillian Golden (John Jay) and Mateo Arias Roldan (SUNY/Purchase) have signed with NCAA Division III teams. (Credit: Bob Liepa)