October 7th, 2010

Assumption Grad Takes On Captain Role

Brad Knoop

Staff Writer

Assumption Grad Takes On Captain Role
photo from UofL Sports Information

Rockets' alum Jones thrives in family full of Cards and Cats

Competition is a word Jennifer Jones became very familiar with at an early age.  Whether it was in the backyard kicking a soccer ball around, or shooting hoops, or aiming for better marks in grade school at Holy Spirit, Jennifer had her work cut out for her.  A younger sister of two brothers, Jennifer always “wanted to do what they did.”

Her parents ran the taxi service, getting all three children to practices and games, sometimes wondering if they could clone the kids in order to get them to practices which inevitably overlapped in time. 

“It is what I wanted to do and I was blessed to have parents to take me everywhere and support me,” she says.  Jennifer began her kicks with soccer at age five.  She played at the YMCA and at Mockingbird Valley and ultimately became a three-time All State star at Assumption High School.  In her four years as a Rocket, Assumption won 73 games and advanced twice to the state tournament semi-finals.

But she spent her senior year on the sideline following an ACL injury.  It was devastating at the time as the Rockets had high hopes of blasting off to a state championship that season. 

“We had a good group of girls my senior year, moved up together for four years and I missed out on that,” Jones recalls.  “It was disappointing that I couldn’t play.  I was the captain of the team and had to lead off the field, had to find my role and accept it.” 

The Rockets were knocked out that season in the regional finals to Sacred Heart.  Jones returned to sports the following spring, to finish up her high school basketball career.  But she wasn’t finished with soccer.

While her brothers Ryan and Creighton, St. Xavier graduates, decided to attend college at the University of Kentucky (Ryan played soccer for the Big Blue), Jennifer was eyeing a different path.  She signed to play soccer for UofL and is pursuing an Accounting degree. 

“My mom (Laura) and dad (Craig) went to UK,” she says smiling.  “My brothers went there, too.  But I liked the coaches and the opportunity here at UofL.”  She is by no means a rebel for wearing red and black.  Her grandmother, Nancy Deters, played field hockey and basketball at UofL in the 1950s.  Her aunt, Ann BecVar, competed in field hockey for the Cards in the late 1970s.

The whole family cheers for Jennifer and the Cardinals despite the Big Blue ties.  She is one of only two Louisville natives on the UofL roster, so a good portion of the cheering section for the entire team comes from the Jones family.  “Yes, even my brothers cheer for UofL,” The junior midfielder proudly claims.

UofL soccer coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes said she knew she had a winner when recruiting Jones. 

“I think it was between us and UK.  I knew she had ties there,” the Cardinals coach recalls.  “She is so competitive, loves to play and wears her emotions on her sleeve.  She demands so much from herself and wants to win.” 

The Cardinals got off to a blazing start this season, winning their first seven games.  They’ve cooled a bit as of late, and Coach Ferguson-Dayes is counting on her captains, of which Jones is one, to get the team back to their outstanding level of play they displayed at the start the season.  “We have the pieces to be a really good team.  The talent is there and we just have to get after it mentally.”

Jones realizes the margin for error is ever so thin playing at such a competitive level.  But she’s done this her whole life.  Battling her brothers in sports growing up made her better.  Overcoming a severe knee injury made her tougher.  The willingness to win makes her work harder.  And she wants that to spread to her team. 

The Cardinals have six regular season games remaining before Big East tournament play begins.  They host Villanova Friday, October 8th at 7pm at Cardinal Park.


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