ince graduating from Seymour in 2012, Heather Jones has transformed into one of the most feared forwards in NAIA women’s soccer.
This past season, Jones led the University of Saint Francis with 15 goals as a junior.
With the tallies, Jones is tied for third on the Saint Francis career goals list at 39 and second on the team’s game-winning goals chart with 14.
The second-most goals scored in the programs’ history belongs to Erin Zgonc, who played from 2000-03, and Theresa Brough stands on top with 106 goals during her career in the 1990s.
“I think a lot of my goal scoring has came from years of training,” Jones said. “Ever since I was little, I have always had the urge to score and put the ball in the net. I spent a lot of time focusing on my shooting form on every aspect. It’s weird because I am right-handed and do everything with my right, but when it comes to soccer, my left foot is more accurate. I can shoot left- and right-footed. I usually score a goal with my head once or twice a season and a few volleys.”
On the points list, which combines goals and assists, Jones stands at seventh with 79.
Early in the season, Jones became a three-time All-Crossroads League first-team selection.
Academics have remained a constant since transitioning to college as Jones pursues a degree in health and exercise science/PTA program.
Once she receives her bachelor’s degree, Jones plans on attending grad school for doctrine in physical therapy.
Jones was named NAIA All-America Honorable Mention for the second consecutive season in 2014.
On the field, Jones tries to aggressively pursue scores for her team.
“I think the part that I have had my whole life is being aggressive and fearless on the field,” Jones said. “My thinking is, ‘If I am going to go up for a ball to win, I better go full-out or it won’t feel too good.’ I have always enjoyed lifting, so I think my strength and aggressiveness have played important roles in my play.”
While Jones currently plays under coach Christy Young, she hasn’t forgotten the nights at Freeman Field.
“I am still in touch with my club coach from high school, Matt Dennis,” Jones said. “He had a huge impact on my soccer career, and he still checks in on me. He always told me flat out what I needed to do, how I needed to do it and when.
“Like Christy Young, Matt is not only a great coach but a huge help off the field. He is an easy person to talk to and will give you great advice. Outside of my dad, Matt has been another key inspiration and motivation to continue to play college soccer.”
The Jones family has acted as a huge support system for Heather Jones throughout her soccer career.
“If I could thank one person in the world for my soccer success, it’s my dad,” Jones said.” He honestly has spent hundreds of hours with me personally just to help me succeed. I go home on summer breaks and he is always asking if I want to go out to Freeman Field to shoot around. He comes to my games and always tells me things that he sees, and I try them the next game and I am more successful. He never even played soccer in his life; he went to classes and conferences to learn about different tactics of the game.
“Another person I would thank is my mom. She is the best support system and the only support system that I truly need. She picks me up if I had a bad game, and she even gives me some advice. She has dedicated a lot of her time for me, spent probably too much money on my soccer and has drove thousands of miles just to allow me to play the game I love.”
Heading into her senior year, Jones will more than likely finish with the second most goals in Saint Francis history.
“College soccer is a great experience,” Jones said. “I think it’s also a great life learning experience. It’s very time-consuming, but it teaches you how to manage your time. Not only do you get to play the sport that you love, but you also get to be surrounded by people that you love.
“The best memories that I have had at USF are with my soccer team. College sports are tough, and it takes a lot of dedication, but in the end it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.