JACKSON — For the last four years, Brynlee Vermillion has been a staple at her forward position for the Jackson Ironladies.
It’s led her to being an all-conference selection multiple times over, and her talents are now taking her to the next level.
After four successful years at Jackson, Vermillion committed and signed with Heidelberg University to continue her soccer career as a Student Prince.
“I went to an ID camp at Heidelberg in November of my junior year, and I remember the high was like 16 degrees,” Vermillion said. “Despite the super cold weather, the older girls were really nice and created a really good bond with the people at the camp. Their campus is really beautiful and has this old, castle-like look to it. They also have very small class sizes which I thought really fit my personality well.”
Vermillion has been one of the most talented players ever since she stepped onto the field as a freshman, a competitive drive instilled in her since the age of seven.
“I’ve played soccer since I was 3, just playing wreck ball like most little kids do. It wasn’t until I was about 7 or 8 that I started to get into it,” Vermillion said. “My older brother played on a travel team and everything between us has always been a competition, so I would watch him and try to be better than him and the other boys on his team. It was times where I was trying to learn new moves so that I could beat my brother and make him say I was better than him, that’s when I really started to love it.”
She made an impact by scoring eight goals and passing out four assists as Jackson went 16-2-1 in 2016.
That season marked Jackson’s last district final appearance, a run which Vermillion says is at the top of the list among the memories she’s made over the past four years.
“When everyone expected our team to have a losing season, and we ended up advancing to a Division II district final,” Vermillion said. “The seniors that year made the season very unforgettable and pushed us more than any other people have before.
Ever since that run, Vermillion and her teammates continued to claw their way season by season to relive that run to ultimately bring back a district championship.
Although their efforts fell short, she continued to be the driving force behind the Ironladies as she led them in goals scored over her final three years.
“Over my high school years, my coaches really pushed me to be better by comparing me to soccer greats that came before me like Katie Exline and Peyton Miller,” Vermillion said. “(Former Jackson coach) Chris Skarratt knew that I had always looked up to Katie, so he would always slip in little jabs about being more selfish with the ball or scoring more like she would. My teammates ultimately were a huge impact on every aspect of the game, too.
“I still remember when Chris was so mad he broke his watch punching the white board. And another being when he subbed me out and forgot about it, and started yelling like I was on the field messing up, when really I was sitting on the bench behind him. I just wish that he could have stayed with us for my senior season because he was very influential in the speed of play and effort that the girls, as a team, played with.”
However, it was that drive to get better to lift her teams that ultimately taught her about life and the value of continuing to push herself.
With Vermillion donning her No. 13 every game, the Ironladies never finished with a losing record, ultimately winning 44 games and two sectional titles in 2016 and 2017.
And now she’ll bring that winning attitude and drive to Heidelberg, who has had just three winning seasons since 2000 and hasn’t won a Ohio Athletic Conference championship since 1995, nor a tournament championship since 1997.
“For me, soccer has really allowed me to push myself. Whenever I felt like I couldn’t run anymore or I really wanted to raise my hand for a sub, I remembered how much both my coaches and teammates expected out of me,” Vermillion said. “This allowed me to push myself in other things like school and when I ran track, too. I can’t wait to get there and get started.”