Jolley has been one of the most durable and consistent performers for the MetroStars for the last three seasons. Since joining the club in a trade with Los Angeles in April of 2000, Jolley has started all but one of the 104 competitive matches played by the MetroStars, which is a club record.
He's also been a resident of Weehawken for the last three years. In fact, Jolley and his wife, Pilar, love their new hometown so much that they purchased a home last year.
"It's an ongoing joke with my teammates," Jolley said. "We call it 'the hawk.' We love it here. It's a great town."
When the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center took place last Sept. 11, Jolley wanted to do something to help some of the victim's families, especially for those in his new hometown, particularly his new neighbor, Jill Vicario, who lost her husband Robert, which left her a widow with a newborn daughter.
"That story hit Pilar and I very hard," Jolley said. "At the time, I didn't know Jill, but we wanted to try to help out Jill in some capacity. The one thing I know pretty well is soccer and I know that the soccer community would reach out and help those who need it. So my wife and I tried to raise money to help Jill and some others who lost family members at the World Trade Center.
Added Jolley, "The only thing I could think of was 'what would happen to my wife if something happened to me?' "
It started as a soccer memorabilia auction in Wyckoff, where some of Jolley's friends live.
"I made some calls to my friends in the MLS and we got autographed jerseys and balls," Jolley said. "We auctioned off game tickets. My initial goal was $1,000. We had some amazing items, like game jerseys autographed by the U.S. World Cup team and jerseys from some of the top players in the league, like Landon Donovan. We raised about $6,000, but it didn't stop there. People then just kept sending us money from all over the country."
Jolley has a web site, www.justjolley.com, where he writes a column about his soccer experiences and the latest MetroStars game. Avid visitors of the site began to send money. With that, the Just Jolley Foundation took root.
"With all these people sending money, we had to do something legally," Jolley said. "We also needed to find another place where the money could go."
Jolley knew of the America Scores program, where soccer is combined with a reading, literacy, and creative writing initiative. America Scores has been in place in Dallas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and Jolley thought it would be good to bring the program to Weehawken.
"We want to be able to support this program at the Weehawken Free Public Library," Jolley said. "My wife and I walk up to the library all the time, at least once a week. It's an amazing place. I think this was a great way to get involved in my community."
Jolley has presented a proposal to the library to get the program started there in the future.
In the meantime, the library will receive some funds as a result of the Just Jolley Foundation, as well as a scholarship that will be instituted at William & Mary College, the alma mater of both Steve and Pilar.
Jolley never realized that his community efforts would gain recognition, but they have. Saturday night, he was slated to be presented with the 2002 United States Soccer Foundation's Humanitarian of the Year award, at the banquet in Providence before the MLS Cup Sunday afternoon.
"It's as different of an award that there's going to be," Jolley said. "It is an honor, but it's not necessarily something I was striving for. My friends and family seem to be more appreciative of the award than I am. It's definitely different than being named Defender of the Year."
Jolley said he's glad the foundation has taken off and become so successful. "The response has been incredible," Jolley said. "I really thought it was going to be a one-shot deal, just a way to help Jill and another friend who lost someone at the World Trade Center. I never expected that it would develop into this."
Jolley said he plans on doing other community-related activities. After all, he's not alone. Several members of the MetroStars call Weehawken their home, but only Jolley has purchased a residence.
Even though Jolley's contract status is up in the air for next season, he still devoted to help his new hometown. He is hopeful to return to the MetroStars, who had a disappointing season this year and failed to make the playoffs.
"No matter what happens to me, we'll still stay here," Jolley said. "Even if I'm gone for a year or two, I'll be back. Nothing will change. I care about this town and that's why I'm doing it."