All eyes on GNAC Player of the Year Adam Jones

Jones led the GNAC in both points and assists, and was also named to the conference First Team All-GNAC.

Describing an athlete as a “superstar” can often be overused, but it is hard not to immediately think of the word while looking at junior Adam Jones’ achievements. For Jones, soccer was already running in his genes.

“I grew up in Port Coquitlam. My father played football for the Vancouver Eighty-Sixers. I’m a big Manchester United fan because my great-grandfather played for the club. Paul Scholes was a model for me when he was still playing.

“Football was never forced upon me. I just fell in love with it.”

The Port Coquitlam resident travelled a long way playing soccer before returning home. Jones modestly recalled his achievement overseas.

“I was part of an academy in Burnaby, and every year they took a group to Europe to play. There was a cup in Denmark and another one in Sweden. I went to both. It was unbelievable. It was an experience that affected me in so many ways. You don’t realize it at 12, but as you [get] older, you realize the magnitude of this achievement. Around that time, I started thinking I want to become a pro. It gives you a little bit more hope.”

A few years following his journey overseas, Jones felt that it was necessary to go back to his roots.

“I can still live at home here and my family can come and watch my games. The NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] aspect of SFU was also the big reason. I liked the thought of playing in the NCAA; I think it’s pretty prestigious. SFU [is a] good school soccer-wise and it fits me very well. Again, if you look at the financial side, it costs so much more in the [United] States. I spent one year in England during my academic year residence. I went there on trials and I was able to learn self-confidence. When you go over there on your own, you have to be confident.”

With a brilliant regular season performance from the Clan, Jones took home the award for GNAC Player of the Year. The midfielder scored 10 goals and had nine assists. “I think I was in the library writing a paper,” he laughed about how he found out. “It was exciting and it was actually beside Mamadi [Camara] in the ranking.

“Football was never forced upon me. I just fell in love with it.”

“Among all these achievements, I think the message that no one really had to say was the fact that in 20 years it will be great to look back on this. As of right now, none of this will matter to us right now unless we do well in the tournament.”

One could learn a few lessons on how to boss the midfield from Jones. He revealed how his own identity fits into his role.

“My skills are more applicable to a midfield role. I like to set the tempo. I like to pass and create occasions and when someone gets the ball and dribble right away, I don’t have breakaway speed. Midfield is somewhere where I can play my role within the game.”

Jones’ ally in the midfield is none other than his brother Kyle Jones. The Jones pair has been shining on the pitch this season. With his little brother on the team, one might think there is an ongoing competition between the two. The storyline is different from Adam Jones’ perspective, though.

“It’s really fun, to be honest with you. Being two years apart, if he ever wanted to come and train with my team, he would. If I had some spare time, I would hang out with his team. We’re very close that way. There’s no real competition. We understand that we have different attributes that will help the team. We know how to push each other’s buttons the right way.”

While Canadian athletes often get less exposure to Major League Soccer (MLS) drafts due to the absence of a local league, the future is set to be bright for Jones, who ends the interview on an optimistic note.

“I would love to get drafted in the MLS. Being Canadian, I don’t know how much opportunities I would have. If an American team invited me for a preseason trial, for example, I would definitely be open to that option.”

Fun fact:
Which professional team would you want to play for?

“I would play in the Premier League for Manchester United.”