Hannah Jones, a member of the VARDAR 97 U17 ECNL squad, attended the 2013 ECNL id2 National Training Camp held this past August at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, OR. Jones was one of 100 top female athletes from the 1995-1997 age group selected based on her performance in ECNL competition and in the ECNL Player Development Program.
“The national camp was a huge opportunity for me and a very cool experience,” Jones said. “It was great to be part of an event where the top players in the country were together. There were no weak players there and I learned a lot.” In addition to training and playing games at Nike headquarters, the girls were treated to a Portland Thorns game and received a variety of Nike gear to bring home.
Jones said she has been working hard throughout her soccer career and just recently was named to the ODP Region II Team and was invited to the upcoming Region II Camp in Boca, FL during the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Hard work does pay off,” Jones said. “I’d tell younger players to never give up and to keep working because it’s worth it.” The hard work has paid off for Jones who just committed to Michigan State University and will play for the Spartans after her 2016 graduation.
And despite having to overcome a couple injuries including a recent fractured growth plate in her ankle, Jones expects to be back on the field in a couple weeks to help out her Vardar teammates. “I love being part of Vardar. Our team is very close and I especially like Demir’s (Muftari) coaching style,” Jones added. “I’ve improved so much since becoming a part of Vardar.”
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Searching for the right college fit is never easy, but for this Michigan native, there was a long list of reasons for choosing one of the in-state Division I programs.
“I chose MSU for many reasons,” Jones told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “I really like the coaches and they know exactly what type of player I am and what I can contribute to their program. Also it’s close to home and I have a very large family so they can come see me play a lot and be a part of this experience.”
A technical midfielder who spent part of her summer at the ECNL National Training Event in Portland, Jones aimed to impress national scouts after a quality club season for Vardar.
Her ties to Michigan certainly played a role, as she’s become familiar thanks to some experiences with camps.
“I have always been a Spartan fan and started attending their winter and summer camps many years ago so I was familiar with their coaching style,” she said. “MSU also offers the big campus athletic experience with great football, basketball and hockey. They also have an Honors college that I plan to apply to, as rigorous academics were also what I was looking for. Altogether I just really liked everything about it and followed my gut instinct.”