First Person: Tim Jones

Sept. 10, 2008

STANFORD, Calif. - Senior outside defender Tim Jones will make his 50th consecutive start on Sunday when Stanford (1-1-1) plays at USF.

The native of Lawrenceville, Ga., is making a case for All-America honors. He has been vital to the attack with his overlapping runs and has been nearly impossible to beat one-on-one.

Jones spoke with

Q: The team has had some early ups and downs. What is the team's state right now?

A: We definitely know what needs to be done. You have to look at every area of the field. For one, defending has to be better. Against SMU, we had two early mistakes that ended up costing us the game. They probably had the majority of possession in that game, but falling behind two goals so early forced us to chase the game the entire time, so that didn't help at all.

But also, in the midfield, we have to control the ball better, and make sure we're stringing passes together, through the midfield and up top. And make sure everyone's on the same page, not only in the defense and midfield, but all over the field.

A little more communication would help. You need to know where to play the ball on the field, and where you have support, where to pass the ball before the ball even comes to you, being able to see a couple of plays ahead. And, we have to get in and make sure we're winning every 50-50 ball, and every ball in the air. Just fighting harder.

Q: You'll be making your 50th consecutive start this weekend. Does that hold any special significance for you?

A: Not really. Coming into the season, it wasn't really something I'd thought of. I go out every game and try my best. Every practice you come in fighting for a starting position. At the same time, every game you play you're fighting to keep that starting position. With a team of 30 guys, there are so many people who want to take that position from you. I'm just thankful that I've been able to play this well and not be injured. It's awesome to have 50 starts - I'm not going to lie about that. But at the same time, it's not something that comes in my mind very often. I just need to play my best, keep my starting position by proving myself on the field.

Q: Your sister, Megan, who played the past four seasons at Kentucky, has been a big influence on your soccer career.

A: My sister got through the recruiting process before me, so that's how I got my first look at college recruiting. I started playing soccer when I was 3 and my sister was 4, so we both started at the same time. And then we both loved playing soccer, and my mom loved watching us play. We tried other sports like basketball and baseball, but they didn't really stick with us like soccer did.

We played on the same team for a while. She played on a boys' team. When I was 9, that's when we both split apart and started playing Premier Soccer, where you travel and have tryouts and everything. But when we go to home over break, we'll play soccer for like, two or three days. Just go at each other and work on moves and everything. I helped her get better, get faster. She does the same for me.

Q: Is she still active in soccer?

A: No, she just finished. She's at Wake Forest, getting her master's in accounting.

Q: Do you still talk soccer with her?

A: Definitely, she calls me after all of my games to see how things are going, with the team and how things are going for me personally. My mom's going to be coming down a lot because this is my senior year. And my sister's going to be coming with my mom. I think she'll be coming to three games this year.

Q: The trademark of this team is its defense, but can it be just as strong offensively?

A: I don't really look at it in terms of defense and offense. We're one big coherent group. You can't say, the defense is just the back four. The defense is the entire team defending all across the field.

At the same time, with the offense, it's not just the midfielders and the strikers, it's the centerbacks going forward on free kicks and corner kicks. It's the outside backs running forward on any opportunities that we see.

Q: Are you interested in a pro career?

A: It's something that I've considered. I guess every American soccer player's dream is to try to get overseas. But that can be an incredibly difficult process, and you just don't know when those opportunities are going to arise. In terms of playing in MLS, I think it would be a great experience to try it out, but a first-year player who is not a big recruit would be paid below minimum wage.

I don't know, I've been pretty much gearing myself up for corporate America, which is pretty much why I came to Stanford University, to get a great education. But, if I had the opportunity to go pro, and if the cards lined themselves up, then I definitely would try it out.

Q: You're an economics major. What are your goals in that field?

A: I actually had an internship with Morgan Stanley this past summer in investment banking. I thought that the work that they did was interesting and captivating. You're always busy. The hours are long and they expect a lot from you, which makes the work challenging. I'll probably look to get into investment banking or sales and trading, or something along those lines. But at the same time, I'll be applying to grad school after this. So, I'm not exactly sure what I'll be doing right now, but we'll see what happens in the coming months.

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