Harper selected to boys soccer hall of fame
For the recent crowd who has been following the Wildcat soccer success, Aaron Harper is known as the head coach of the Pendleton County High School boys’ soccer team that won their fourth consecutive 38th District title. He is also the father of Conner and Aven Harper, the two top scorers in Wildcat soccer history and the subjects of a debate about which is the greatest soccer player in school history.
Before his success as a coach, Coach Harper was also successful as a player. His performance during the fall soccer seasons from 1992-1994 has led to his selection as a member of the 2018 Northern Kentucky Boys’ Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
He is the first player from Pendleton County to be inducted, and he joins his coach, Tony Bentley, as the only Pendleton County members in the hall of fame.
“I am honored to be selected. Playing for Coach Bentley laid the groundwork for my love of the game, and being recognized is truly special,” said Coach Harper.
According to Coach Bentley, Harper was the first All-State player for Pendleton County.
He played defense for Bentley’s Wildcat teams, but his role was more than that.
“He was the quarterback of the team,” said Bentley. “I would have played him as center halfback, but I needed him on defense.”
Bentley pointed out that Harper’s success came from his intelligence on the field.
“He was a thinking player who knew all of the angles. He had great anticipation and was the smartest player I ever had,” he added.
While he was a stalwart on defense, his skill allowed him to also affect the offensive end. Having a great touch on his passes, he would play the ball forward, leading to goals for his teammates.
According to Bentley, Harper had 10 goals in that All-State season, but he also led the team in assists from a defensive position.
“Aaron set up teammates with passes. Forty yards out and, boom, the pass is right where his teammate needed it,” said Bentley.
Both Harper and Bentley hope that their hall of fame selections lead to the proper recognition of several deserving Wildcat Soccer players.
“There have been multiple players before and after who have been far better than I,” Harper humbly said. Two of them are his sons who are among the leading scorers in the history of the school, region and NKY.
“To be able to play, coach at PC, and see my two sons go through the program is something that will forever be in my heart. Soccer has been great for my family.” said Harper.
Another hall of fame selection for him as a coach might be down the road, and his former coach says he deserves it.
“He coached like he played. He was a thinker, never dirty, just class,” Bentley said about his former player and now fellow hall of fame member.