New Menlo School graduate Sophie Jones is the Gatorade National Soccer Player of the Year, announced in front of family, friends, teachers and coaches at Menlo on Wednesday

Jones, who is headed to Duke in the fall, was selected California Player of the Year last week, and was surprised with the national honor days later. Jones walked into the doors of the Spieker Ballroom, and was greeted by a cheering crowd before NFL Hall of Famer and former 49ers quarterback Steve Young, a Menlo parent and lifelong friend, presented the trophy to Jones.

“It took me a second to realize what this was,” Jones said. “It’s going to take a while to process. I’m honored to have my name up there with some incredibly great athletes.”

Jones led the Knights to a 20-2-2 record and the Central Coast Section Div. I tournament championship this past season. She recorded 18 goals and 16 assists despite missing four games the final two games of the season while training with the U.S. Soccer Under-20 Women’s National Team.

“It was definitely a part of my high school experience that I always wanted to have, “Jones said. “Now, continuing with soccer, I know I have some work to do.”

She is the 2018 United Soccer Coaches Youth Girls National Player of the Year for her performance with her club team and played in the 2018 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Uruguay.     

Jones has volunteered locally with the Special Olympics and as a youth soccer coach, and has maintained a 3.65 GPA in the classroom. She has just returned from training with the women’s national under-20 team. 

The Gatorade Player of the Year award recognizes the nation’s most elite high school student-athletes in each of the 50 states and D.C., choosing winners in 12 sports: football, girls’ volleyball, boys’ and girls’ cross country, boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, baseball, softball, and boys’ and girls’ track and field; honoring one National Player of the Year in each sport. Student-athletes are evaluated not only for outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character.

Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year has awarded a distinguished list of athletes including future NFL hall of famer Peyton Manning, U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team star Abby Wambach, NBA veteran Karl-Anthony Towns, and future baseball hall of famer Derek Jeter.

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