When Sophie Jones was congratulated by Izzy D’Aquilla at practice late Thursday morning, she learned then that she was selected as Gatorade California Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
Jones, who is training in Virginia with the U20 national team with D’Aquilla — last year’s state player of the year — was one of three finalists for the national title.
Jones is Menlo School’s first player of the year in the Gatorade Company’s 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes.
“I am so humbled to be recognized and to represent California. There are so many amazing high school players, including club and WNT teammates whom I admire greatly. To be recognized by Gatorade leaves me kind of speechless,” Jones said Thursday.
Jones is also the reigning Daily Journal Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year.
The Gatorade award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Jones as California’s best high school girls soccer player.
Now she is a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced later this month.
As a senior midfielder, Jones led the Knights to a 20-2-2 record and the Central Coast Section Div. I championship this past season. Jones recorded 18 goals and 16 assists despite missing the final two games of the season while training with the U.S. Soccer Under-20 Women’s National Team.
The 2018 United Soccer Coaches Youth Girls National Player of the Year for her performance with her club team, Jones 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.
“Sophie is a leader and leads by example,” said Henry Arredondo, head coach of Woodside Priory School. “She is technically gifted and makes the game easy for everyone on her team. She is a magician with the ball at her feet, and her excellent soccer IQ makes her that much more dangerous.”
Jones has maintained a 3.65 GPA in the classroom. She signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at Duke University this fall.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.
Jones joins recent Gatorade California Girls Soccer Players of the Year Isabella D’Aquila (2017-18, JSerra Catholic High School), Kennedy Wesley (2016-17, Valley Christian High School), Taylor Ziemer (2015-16 & 2014-15, Montgomery High School) and MacKenzie Cerda (2013-14, Edison High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.
Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.
Jones joins an elite alumni association of past state soccer award-winners, including Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook High School, Mich.), Steve Cherundolo (1996-97, Mt. Carmel High School, Calif.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women, N.Y.), Heather O’Reilly (2001-02, 2002-03, East Brunswick High School, N.J.), Matt Besler (2004-05, Blue Valley West High School, Kans.), Jack Harrison (2013-14, Berkshire High School, Mass.) and Mallory Pugh (2014-15, Mountain Vista High School, Colo.).