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Jonathan Ricketts is going directly from the Lions to the Wolves — the Chattanooga Red Wolves Soccer Club, that is.

It's not like he's being thrown to the wolves, though. He's been a three-time All-Appalachian Athletic Conference player for Bryan College in Dayton, where his career ended this past fall with 33 goals, 11 game-winners and 28 assists in 70 matches.

Ricketts totaled nine assists in each of his last three seasons, with 14 and 12 goals the last two. He also accrued a host of academic honors at the college where his father has been a longtime teacher and where Jonathan's brother, Stephen, preceded him as a Lions standout.

Jonathan was born in Chattanooga and grew up in Dayton, where he began playing soccer at the YMCA at the age of 4. From age 10 to college he developed his skills with Pedro Kozak's Premier Soccer Academy, and in his college offseasons he has played for the Chattanooga Football Club organization and the pre-professional Dalton Red Wolves.

"Ricketts embodies the Path To Pro goal within our organization and the USL," Red Wolves president and general manager Sean McDaniel said in a Bryan release. "We want to create a platform for young talent in Chattanooga, and Ricketts is the first Chattanoogan to break through to the professional ranks."

Said Ricketts, who graduated and got married last month: "It's a blessing to launch my professional career in my hometown, where I know I already have a lot of support. It's really inspiring and encouraging to be able to represent my city and community at the professional level. I've been training diligently this winter and am looking forward to the start of preseason and being able to meet the guys."

Bryan coach Jeremy Davidson said Ricketts "has worked incredibly hard for this opportunity. He has embodied all that we are about here at Bryan College, excelling not only on the field but also in the classroom and in his daily life as a man of God."

Contact Ron Bush at rbush@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6291.

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