For more than a decade, excellence in soccer at Rolla High School has been spelled "F-E-L-T-S."
Now there is an additional spelling for the word, "F-R-O-E-H-L-I-C-H."
Aaron Froehlich, the all-state senior forward for the RHS boys' soccer team, cemented his name in the Missouri high school soccer record books by scoring two goals in the second half of the Bulldogs' win over College Heights Friday night at Kiwanis Field during play in the Thomas Whitefield Games and becoming the all-time career goals leader for Missouri boys' prep soccer.
After admittingly pressing throughout the first half and coming up empty, Froehlich tied School of the Osage's Robbie Mueller's Missouri career-leading total of 173 goals about eight minutes into the second half. A couple of minutes later Froehlich broke the tie to hold the record himself at 174.
On Saturday during Rolla's 7-1 blowout of Columbia Battle in the Whitefield Games, Froehlich poured in four more goals to bring his state career-leading total to 178. And counting.
"It really means a lot to me," Froehlich said of breaking the record. "It shows how good a position I've been put into and what great teammates I have. Everything worked out perfect."
RHS head coach Mike Howard knew he had a solid sniper when Froehlich was a freshman. But it wasn't until his junior season, when he lit up the nets for 66 goals, did a state record even begin being thought about.
"It was after my junior year," Froehlich said. "I thought if everything works out right it could happen."
And it doesn't matter who he plays, Froehlich has been unstoppable the past couple of years on a high school pitch. Sure, RHS has beat up on some weak opponents, just like all good teams do. But Froehlich also lit up nationally-ranked Columbia Rock Bridge in a Bulldog win earlier this season, as well as just about every other team on the RHS schedule.
He just finds the back of the net regardless of who it's against.
"He has scored a goal in every game this season," Howard said. "The goal that really sticks out in my mind was against Fort Zumwalt East. Hunter Short passed him the ball and he took it off his chest and volleyed it in the upper corner from 30 yards out. It was one of the best high school goals I've ever seen.
"Fro...you get that kid around the box and you like your chance. When you can count on a kid to score one or two goals for you a game...that's a huge advantage for a team."
There was very little buildup leading up to Friday's state-record goal. In fact, there was no buildup at all.
Page 2 of 2 - Howard, concentrating on the No. 2 state-ranked Bulldogs' chances to making it deep in the Class 2 state playoffs, wasn't even aware Froehlich was closing in on the record until receiving a couple of texts and emails on Friday morning.
"I had no idea until a couple days ago," Howard said. "No one said anything to me about it. I didn't even know what the record was until (RHS boys' basketball head coach Mark Miller) sent me a text. Then I started looking into it.
"Now that I look back, the last couple of games (before the record) I think he played a little differently. And he was tight in the first half (Friday night). Now I know why. At halftime we just told him to relax and the goals would come. A goal scorer like that is just so composed."
"I was feeling it," Froehlich admitted. "I was feeling a little stressed. It's nice to have that monkey off my back."
Ironically Froehlich's goals Friday night also put Howard in the history books. He becomes the only head coach in Missouri - and perhaps the nation - to have coached his state's career goal-scoring leaders in both boys' and girls' soccer.
From 1998-2001 Howard had the pleasure of coaching Anne Felts, who was a NSCAA High School All-America in 2001, was named Missouri High School Player of the Year in 2000, was a four-time all-state selection and led the Lady Bulldogs to the Missouri state tournament quarterfinals all four years. She also finished her RHS career with the state records in career goals (167), single-season goals (56), career assists (103) and single-season assists (38).
Felts' all-time career goals record was broken in 2007 by Kansas City O'Hara's (Class 1) Michaella Fulmer. And in 2008 Felts' large-school career goals mark was surpassed by Katie Pritchard of Rolla's arch-rival Waynesville.
Felts went on to have a productive four years (two as team captain) while winning a NCAA national championship for women's soccer powerhouse North Carolina.
"That's amazing; she was one heck of a player," Froehlich said of Felts. "It's really cool for me to be even be mentioned in the same sentence with her."
"It says a lot about those two players," Howard said of Felts and Froehlich. "And both handled it so well when it happened."
Froehlich, who has made a verbal commitment to attend and play at William Jewell College along with Bulldog teammates Hunter Short and Nate Kramme, has led the RHS boys to one quarterfinal berth (in 2012), and this season his goal is to do something Felts never did - win a state championship.
"That's all that matters," he said. "None of this stuff matters until we win the state championship."