Keeping up with the Joneses

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SOCCER

Soccer quartet: From left, Brodie Jones, Chris Jones, Alex Jones and Colby Jones. Picture: Lisa Jones.

THANK goodness Lisa Jones likes soccer.

Her husband has been immersed in the sport since childhood, their two sons are following in their father’s footsteps, their oldest daughter already has played for Victoria and the matriarch of the family is a team manager at one of this state’s elite women’s clubs.

Then there is Mia, the youngest Jones sibling. She doesn’t play soccer. Writing and acting are her passions and like her brothers and sister she is talented in her chosen pursuits.

It should come as no surprise that the soccer-playing Jones’ children excel at sport.

They were genetically programmed for success given their father’s achievements as a goalkeeper, their mother’s swimming and netball prowess and an ex-VFL player in Ron Dean as a grandfather.

Family patriarch Chris Jones retired from “serious” soccer in September 2010 after a storied career highlighted by the three games he played for South Melbourne in the 2000 FIFA World Club Championship against Manchester United, Necaxa and Vasco da Gama in Rio de Janeiro’s famous Maracana stadium.

He played professionally with Brighton and Hove Albion in England and his latter seasons were spent at Langwarrin where he now watches his sons, Colby and Brodie, playing for the same club and doing so with distinction.

“As a father to see the two boys do so well at Langwarrin makes me so proud,” Chris Jones said.

“It’s a club I’ve been involved with for a long time now and it’s such a brilliant club.

“That’s what soccer should be all about, kids starting young at a club and going all the way through the ranks just like Ben Caffrey (under-20s assistant coach) did.”

Colby, 18, is a goalkeeper and has won three best and fairest awards in successive seasons starting with the 2017 honour when playing alongside his father in one of Langy’s Bayside League teams.

Last year he won Langy’s under-18 best and fairest and this year he was best and fairest in the under-20s as well as players’ player of the year.

He has represented Victoria in futsal and recently trialled with A-League newcomer Western United.

He was announced last month as Langy’s second senior squad keeper.

Brodie Jones, 16, is a defender who started most under-20 games for Langy last season as a 15-year-old, has won a best and fairest at Springvale White Eagles and trialled with Melbourne Victory this year.

For the past few seasons he has been involved with the Talent Identification and Development Program, a Football Victoria initiative to identify and develop talented players for Victorian and Australian representative squads.

Another Jones sibling, Alex, 14, is the oldest of two girls in the family and already has represented Victoria in national underage championships and at schoolgirl level.

She was Southern United’s goalkeeper of the year in 2019 having made her senior debut off the bench but she also is an excellent outfield player and is likely to mix playing roles next season.

She holds Southern’s games record and her loyalty to her club can never be questioned.

“Alex has had the opportunity to join the National Training Centre’s program here in Victoria but she’s always turned them down to stay with Southern even though our club’s been struggling,” Lisa Jones said.

“She even was asked on the plane coming back from the nationals this year if she was happy at Southern and would she come to the NTC but she stuck solid and told them she wanted to stay at Southern.

“Deb Nichols (Southern’s under-16s coach) and Emma Bracken (under-14s coach) have done a lot for Alex and she stayed loyal to them.”

But brothers and sister look destined to take different paths in their soccer journeys.

Colby and Brodie would jump at the chance to forge careers in the sport that consumes them whereas Alex is keen to focus on her academic interests.

“Going overseas with Dougie Hodgson and the under-16s this year really opened up Brodie’s eyes and he’s found a new passion for the game since he’s come home from that tour,” Chris Jones said.

And now that Colby Jones is licenced he’s able to drive his brother to training and to matches which takes the onus off his parents to arrange transport.

Chris Jones is Manager, Finance and Insurance with Mercedes-Benz Berwick and weekend work is the norm.

“The most difficult times were when they were younger and had to go to three different venues while Chris was working,” Lisa Jones said.

“But we all pitched in and worked around it thanks to grandparents and friends.”

Next season there will be four Jones family members in action as Chris Jones had corrective surgery to a knee earlier this year and plans to pull the boots back on.

“I’ll be back next year in the over-35s playing up front along with Caleb (Nicholes) and ‘Sodda’ (Simon O’Donnell) which should be an interesting strike force.”

But that won’t be the focus of his attention on matchdays.

He’ll remain zeroed in on the achievements of three talented young players as the latest generation of the Jones family continues a tradition of high performance and soccer success.

Meanwhile the revamp of Langy’s senior squad continues with news of a number of triallists spotted at Lawton Park last week.

They include John MacLean (striker, Moreland Zebras) and Slaven Vranesevic (attacking midfielder, Bulleen).

In other news former Mornington keeper Ryan Scott has penned a three-month injury replacement deal with new A-League side Western United.

Scott has been mentored by current Langwarrin goalkeeping coach and Melbourne Knights Team of the Century star Peter Blasby.

The pair worked together at Mornington and NPL heavyweight Bentleigh Greens.

Scott has been with the Greens for the past five years and has bided his time waiting for a chance to achieve a long-held A-League ambition.

He trialled with Newcastle Jets last year and despite impressing head coach Ernie Merrick was overlooked in favour of a more experienced keeper.

“I’ve worked hard over the years and I suppose the hard work has paid off,” Scott said.

“I go with Bentleigh’s blessing and I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity they have given me.”

In State 1 news Mornington has missed out on signing Andy Stubley from Casey Comets.

Stubley joined Box Hill United last week.

In State 2 news Skye United is considering signing a couple of overseas players through player recruitment agency Soccer Smart.

The local club has dealt with Soccer Smart before having brought out English recruit Jacob Scotte-Hatherly for the 2017 season.

Skye starts pre-season training on Tuesday 26 November at 6.30pm at Botany Park Reserve in Carrum Downs.

In State 3 news Frankston Pines announced last week that it has re-signed CJ Hodgson for the 2020 season.

Pines had fielded enquiries about Hodgson from NPL clubs Moreland City, Goulburn Valley Suns, Springvale White Eagles and Eastern Lions.

The versatile Hodgson had also been linked with Skye United and Seaford United.

Hodgson and club legend Craig Lewis share the Pines record of the most Golden Boot awards (six) and Hodgson has an excellent chance to claim that honour outright.

Last week the Victorian Multicultural Sports Association, a Fijian community group, announced on its facebook page that Fiji international goalkeeper Alzaar Alam would be joining Pines for the 2020 season.

The VMSA hopes to form a partnership with Pines and this was expected to be a major topic of discussion at the local club’s AGM last night (Monday).

In State 4 news Seaford United remains tight lipped about its player targets for next season but it is believed to have spoken to midfielder Scott Webster whose CV includes spells at Frankston Pines, Oakleigh Cannons, Casey Comets, Mornington and Doveton.

Recently promoted Doveton is keen for Webster to return to the senior squad while Brandon Park is also interested in signing him.

First published in the Mornington News – 19 November 2019

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