Lordstown senior Jake Jones has loved playing soccer since he was five years old.
“You always go through a phase with different sports, like, ‘Ah, I don’t want to play this,” Jones said. “Well soccer’s just never happened to me. Just always wanted to play. Always wanted to be out on the soccer field.”
Jones is pretty good on the soccer field, setting the school record with 108 career goals. He has 32 in his senior season. But it is the other things that Jones does that makes him such a special player.
“He can be a very selfish player and you want a scorer like him to be selfish,” Lordstown head soccer coach Tim Malone said. “But he understands and recognizes that he can get other people involved and that makes us a much better team.”
Jones learned his unselfish side early in his high school career. “Going from freshman year, sophomore year, where you’re the low person on the totem pole, you learn to pass the ball,” Jones said. “You learn to send a through-ball. And then when your time comes, you learn to take your shot.”
With Jones on the field, Lordstown has been able to take their play to another levels.
“He’s allowed us to start to play a different style of game than Lordstown has traditionally played,” Malone said. “So we try to play a little bit more possession. Try to work a little bit more and try to involve the people a lot more into the game. And he, being unselfish, will allow that to happen.”
But as Lordstown gears up for the playoffs, Jones knows his time on the pitch with the Red Devils is coming to a close. But before he goes, he hopes to leave a clear message to his teammates.
“I hope people understand that if you put in the work, put in the effort, they can have a great team,” Jones said. “Everybody has to be dedicated. They have to be able to want to win. You can’t force that on your team. If you don’t have the will-power to win, then you shouldn’t be playing.”