Joneses pioneering Mountaineers’ soccer

Shaun Stanley/Durango Herald

Sisters Krista and Amanda Jones recently signed on to play on the inaugural Western State women’s soccer team, which starts play this fall. From the left, their mother, Stephanie Jones, Amanda Jones, Krista Jones, father Eric Jones. Behind the family from the left, director of the Durango Youth Soccer Association Kate Stahlin holds her 1 year old daughter Madyson beside Durango High School girls soccer head coach Aaron Eldridge.

By Ryan Owens Herald staff writer

Sisters playing on the same college team isn’t farfetched.

In Durango alone last season, there were the Kvidera twins (Ally and Abby) for Fort Lewis College women’s lacrosse, the Janes twins (Natalie and Stephanie) for FLC softball and the Milliet sisters (Brooke and Lauren) for Durango High School girls soccer, just to name a few.

But the circumstances and the program make the tale of 2012 DHS graduate Amanda Jones and alumna Krista Jones stand out a bit from the norm.

The duo recently committed to be members of the first Division II women’s soccer team at Western State College in Gunnison, which will begin with a modified nonconference schedule before joining the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 2013 under head coach Jeremy Clevenger.

The situation is unique because Krista Jones hasn’t played on a competitive soccer team in two years, dating back to her days at Durango High School and the Durango Youth Soccer Association.

From not playing to suddenly being on a Division II college roster, and with her sister no less, should be quite the transformation for the Western State sophomore-to-be.

“My dad was just doing some research and saw they were starting a new program, so he was like, ‘Hey, you should really get back into it.’ ... I really wanted to get back into it,” Krista Jones said.

As for Amanda Jones, a member of the most recent DHS squad, she chose the Mountaineers over a pair of junior college options after being noticed at a one-day identification camp held in Gunnison.

The family ties didn’t hurt, either.

“This one,” said Amanda Jones, gesturing to her sister when asked why she chose Western State.

Sharing the practice pitch once more also will allow the sisters to butt heads, so to speak. Krista Jones makes her home in the attacking third of the field, while younger sister Amanda has been a rock-solid defender for DHS.

The opportunity to go at each other in training brought up a disputed memory of a tackle from back in their DYSA days.

“I got the ball before she did, and she tripped over me and made it dramatic,” Amanda Jones said.

“I threw my back out of place,” Krista Jones said with a wry smile.

Of course, for proud parents Eric and Stephanie Jones, seeing their daughters share the same college pitch is an unbelievable opportunity.

“I think seeing them on the same pitch playing in one of the premiere Division II conferences for women’s soccer is going to be a delight,” Eric Jones said.

“I think it’ll be great just to go and see them play, together again,” Stephanie Jones said.

With Brooke Milliet and Savannah Seiter set to join Fort Lewis College and Marlene Conner on the Adams State roster, the Jones sisters give the Durango High School program five RMAC signees in two years – a particular point of pride for head coach Aaron Eldridge and assistant coach/DYSA director Kate Stahlin.

“To have Gunnison start building a varsity program and being able to compete and having ... girls that came from our program (help build it) is amazing,” Eldridge said. “You feel a lot of pride for that.”

“It gives me great pride to see these kids going on to get opportunities beyond club soccer and high school soccer,” Stahlin said. “And I like it being a means for them to go to college.”

rowens @durangoherald.com

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