SYRACUSE – Doing the little things on the pitch has gotten him noticed by coaches and players. Now, Carter Jones is looking to grow into the big-time player those in the Wawasee boys soccer program need him to be.
Jones, entering his senior season, is bigger in stature than most of the boys soccer players on the Wawasee roster. Standing close to 6’0″ tall, Jones does have the advantage of seeing over defenses, but is ready to run past them as one of the anticipated offensive leaders for the Warriors.
Not having a statistical sheet matching the likes of a Ronaldo, Messi or even Carlos Camargo, Jones still made an impact off the sheet. Jones notched just one goal and five assists as a junior, but two of those assists helped Wawasee to a 2-1 win against a gritty Columbia City side.
Drawing double-team matchups in most contests, Jones knows his work away from the ball is helping others gain opportunities. But his offseason work on the ball is where Jones hopes to impact the Warriors.
“This team has a very good chance to be successful,” Jones said. “At first, I saw we didn’t have a lot of returners coming back. But once we started training as a team, I changed my mind quickly. We are thinking like a team rather than as a bunch of individuals. This team can win a sectional. I know we can. If we keep building and trust each other.”
Wawasee manager Jordan Sharp enters his fourth year at the helm, and will have seen Jones his entire high school career. An offensive player himself in high school and college, Sharp knows it only takes one touch of the ball for the elite to impact matches. Certainly those chances could be afforded to Jones and his Warrior teammates, simply by the work ethic his side has shown this offseason.
“Carter really is the total package,” said Sharp, whose club went 5-11-1 last fall. “He’s a leader and brings it. It doesn’t always show on the stat sheet, but he really does try to get his teammates involved. It’s showed in the offseason his dedication to the sport by training with some better clubs. Over the years, he has shown a ton of potential and I don’t think we’ve seen anything close to his best yet.”
Jones will likely slot into the attacking midfield for Wawasee. A student of the game, Jones is well-rehearsed on how teams were able to corral him last year and also can rattle off what some of the area clubs have done in recent history. Knowing there could be a life after high school soccer at the collegiate level, Jones is trying to soak up as much information as possible.
“My focus is still on this season, and how to get this team to be a sectional champion,” Jones stated. “I have been speaking with a couple of small colleges of playing. It’s been a dream of mine to play in college. But I know that I have a year left, and there is a lot of work to be done before then.”
Jones and the Warriors open its season Aug. 16 at Westview.