Beem signs to play soccer at Oakland City
By B.J. HARGIS
Despite just competing two years for the Sullivan High School girls soccer team, Jillian Beem made a big impact.
So much that she earned a college scholarship.
Beem signed a letter-of-intent to play women’s soccer at Oakland City University on Tuesday morning.
“Jillian is a terrific fit for Oakland City,” said SHS girls soccer coach Kurt Hauger. “I am sure she will have an excellent career in the net for the Oaks.”
Beem said that she will receive two scholarships, totaling $24,000.
“I will still have to pay room and board, but that is not much compared to having my tuition paid,” said Beem. “This is like a dream come true.”
It was just a couple of years ago that Beem did not have a school home after transferring from Terre Haute South.
But Beem quickly made an impression on Hauger and became a fixture as goalie for the Lady Arrows.
“Jillian spent only two years with the Lady Arrows and definitely made a huge impact for the team in those two years,” said Hauger. “She was selected All-Western Indiana Conference in both her junior and senior seasons.
“Jillian is one of the key reasons we were WIC champions both seasons. Without question, replacing Jillian will be a difficult task.”
Beem said it took her a long time to find a home.
“We have moved around a lot,” said Beem. “Almost every year I was in a different school.
“It was never easy being the new kid, but I was so thankful that things worked out well here at Sullivan. Coach Hauger and my teammates made me feel at home and eventually I was able to fit in and call Sullivan home. One minute I am a stranger and the next minute I am ‘J-bug.’ I has been great to call my teammates my friends.”
Jillian, the daughter of Jerry and Tina Beem, said she was interested in playing soccer at Mount Marty College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Northwest Christian in Oregon, Auburn University-Montgomery (Alabama) and at Minnesota State.
“I guess I had traveled so much in my life that I thought about trying to play soccer a long way from here,” she said. “But it worked out best for me to go to Oakland City.
“From the first time I walked on campus, I knew that Oakland City was the place for me. I really liked coach (Katie) Harrison and the school. Also, it will be close enough that my dad, my biggest fan, will get a chance to see me play.”
According to Hauger, Beem started all 34 games for the Lady Arrows.
“She finished with 25 wins, six losses, two ties and one no decision,” said Hauger. “She will leave with 215 saves to her credit and a goal-against-average of 1.29.”
He added that her record is remarkable.
“To record only six losses in two years is tremendous,” said Hauger. “And she also is credited with 14 shutouts, but also had three other games in which she did not give up a goal while she was in the game.”
The Lady Arrows dominated Brown County in the WIC title games in 2016 and 2017 for the championship.
“Winning the conference twice was by far the most memorable games during my time at Sullivan,” said Beem. “I was really happy after we won it this past fall.
“That was a great memory to share with my teammates, coaches and family.”
Beem, who said she will likely be majoring in some form of multi-media, said she wanted to thank all of her coaches, including Hauger, Cobie Harrison, Carlos Guzman, Christina Haag and Ray Secrest, her teammates and family.
“I am very grateful and thankful to be in this position, where I can continue to play the game I love and get a free education,” said Jillian, who added she realizes she will have to be ready to play against more experienced players with faster shots. “There have been so many people responsible for helping me get to this position. I can’t thank them enough.”
Photo by B.J. HARGIS: Jillian Beem, front, middle, is shown signing a letter of intent to play soccer at Oakland City University. She is surrounded by her parents, Tina and Jerry Beem. Also pictured, back, from left, are Sullivan High School girls soccer coach Kurt Hauger and SHS athletic director Otto Clements.