After a star-studded
playing career at UC San Diego, that included a pair of NCAA Soccer
Championships, Kristin Jones has spent the past eight years on the sidelines as
an assistant to her Head Coach, Brian McManus. During that span, UCSD has
racked up a 126-29-18 record and been a regular post-season participant.
McManus says that Jones has transferred her best playing skills to the coaching
ranks. "Kristin's got great vision," says McManus, whose teams have captured
seven NCAA titles in his 25 seasons at UCSD. "She sees things so quickly-before
others do-and can make adjustments on the fly, the same as she did while
playing. She's been a huge factor in our success. Over the years, coaching
women has become a little more sophisticated and having her here, particularly
with her credentials as an All-American, benefits us a great deal." An 81-goal
scorer as a collegian and holder of a Human Development degree from UCSD, the
Oceanside native took time recently to talk about her career, the Triton
program and the sport of soccer.
Q-After playing four
years at UC San Diego, you essentially went straight into coaching under Brian
McManus. When did you know you wanted to make a career out of coaching soccer?
wouldn't let me leave! I began
coaching club my senior year at UCSD and I loved it from the start. I was fortunate enough to have all the
pieces fall into place and allow me to work my way up the ranks quickly in
college and club coaching. At
first I did it as more of a hobby, but the more I coached, the more I knew that
it was my passion.
Q-Which do you like better, playing or
coaching, but I still consider myself a player. There is something to be said for controlling what happens
in a game. Even though soccer is
the epitome of a team sport, when I play, I try to have as much of an impact as
possible on the game.
I play as much as my schedule allows but afterwards my body does
everything it can to remind me I am definitely a coach and not a player
Q-You were a
four-year starter at UCSD, won four CCAA Championships, reached the NCAA Final
Four three times and won CCAA Player of the Year honors as a senior. Early on,
what was the most difficult part of your transition to the coaching ranks? What
was one thing that surprised you most about being a coach?
JONES-Early on, I
had a hard time not being overly passionate. I have so much pride in the UCSD Women's Soccer program that
I took every little thing personally.
Ultimately, I enjoyed my four years so much that I wanted everyone to
leave feeling as great about their experience.
I was very surprised at how emotionally invested coaches are
in their teams. When I played I
knew my coaches cared, but I didn't realize it was to this extent. The time and energy every coach in this
department puts into their teams is amazing.
Q-What do you
remember as the highest and lowest points of your Triton playing career?
hard question. I remember some of
the games I played at UCSD like it was yesterday. Every time we beat Dominguez Hills was great! One of my favorite experiences would
have to be the NCAA Championship my freshman year when we won with seconds left
on the clock and it was our first year in Division II. To go from Division III to Division II
and win a national championship might be something that no other program is
ever able to do.
But the best experience would have to be the 2001 NCAA
Championship we won on our home field, in front of thousands of fans, against a
previously undefeated team. Our
team had to be the only group in the country who thought we would win that
game, but we had so much confidence in each other we won 2-0 to repeat as
The low had to be the way I ended my career. We suffered a heartbreaking loss in the
national semi-finals in overtime.
To make things worse, the opposing coach came up to me before the press
conference and apologized for "stealing the game from us". I know he was trying to make me feel
better but at the time it just made things worse and it is something I will
Q-As a player and
coach, what are a few of the most important things you've learned from Head
Coach Brian McManus? In your opinion, what makes him so successful?
taught me as a player and a coach go hand-in-hand. The players laugh at me when I say it, but he taught me the
importance of the "little things".
A lot of teams and programs have great players, but talent only takes
you so far. You have to do the
things that your opponent isn't.
Whether it is ice baths, curfews, or eating at the right times, Brian
forces his players to do things right.
Brian is a machine.
He has created a program that ultimately runs itself due to the amount
of success he has had to date. He
cares about the game, the sport, but more importantly, he cares about each of
the kids like they are family. The
best part is, they know it. He
demands a lot out of the girls, but they thrive in the setting he
provides. He instills a sense of
pride in each of them where they are proud to wear the UCSD jersey.
Q-What's the biggest
difference you notice in the UCSD player of today compared to your collegiate
teammates? What commonalities do both possess?
difference is they are young. But
seriously, they are better players technically then what us old ladies
were. The sport has grown so much
over the years and the game itself has forced these kids into being elite
For the most part, we are the same breed. Soccer players tend to be
passionate, superstitious, loud , hard on themselves and CRAZY. Whether they are 20, 30, or 40 we all
are the same. It is funny to
compare some of the girls now to my teammates. Whether it is the way they play or act, some are so similar
to the ladies I played with.
Q-How did you get
started playing soccer? What other sports did you play as a youngster? What
ultimately made soccer your sport of choice?
JONES-I was very
lucky to have parents who encouraged me to participate in a lot of sports. My soccer career began at age four and
just played because that's what kids did.
Neither of my parents played the game but both have grown to become
fans. I played competitive
basketball and softball throughout high school and had offers to play
collegiately, but when it came down to it, I obviously chose soccer. While I enjoyed the other sports, I
could never imagine not playing soccer.
Q-You also coach at La Jolla High School and with the Nomads
club program. What is your ultimate objective professionally?
club and high school because of the relationships you develop with the kids and
families. I've met very good
people along the way. Watching the
kids develop and establish a love for the game is very rewarding.
The different levels
of club, high school and college keeps me sane. Each team is so different and presents a different
challenge. I want to continue to
learn and grow as a coach and do what I love for the rest of my life. I can't imagine doing anything else.
Q-How surprised have
you been at the growth of soccer in the United States?
surprised at all. There are so many
kids playing and so many ex-players now coaching that it keeps a good cycle
going. I am happy to see the exposure the sport has gotten especially during
major international tournaments.
ESPN covering every game of the European Championships the entire month
of June is a good example. Kids watching those games will grow as players and I
am glad they are given the opportunity.
Q-In your estimation,
what is the key to moving the U.S. to the next level internationally on both
the men's and women's sides?
a plan. If you look at some of the
best soccer countries in the world, they have a system. I think we need to figure out who we
are. Whether it is defensive,
offensive, athletic, we just need to play within our strengths. We also need the support of our
country. England is a perfect
example. When you talk to the
English fans, they will be the first to say they didn't play well. But win,
lose, or tie, they will be at the next game cheering just the same.
traveled to Europe to see the final rounds of the UEFA Champions League
Tournament. What was that like? What are the things you think you'll remember
most about that trip?
JONES-It was an
unforgettable experience. Germany
was amazing. The culture and
history was beautiful but just as beautiful in my opinion was the passion for
the game. The whole city was
decked out weeks before.
Everywhere you looked, there was something soccer related. Soccer is their life and their passion
was indescribable. I am so lucky
to have experienced it first hand.
Q-Last year's UCSD
team won the CCAA South Division title but loses a large number of high quality
seniors. What are your expectations from the 2012 Tritons?
every year I have coached at UCSD has been a "rebuilding year". Though we did lose some great players
and teammates, our roster is still loaded with experience. The seniors did a great job of getting
us back to our winning ways.
There are still plenty of players on the roster with Final Four
experience and I am confident they will do everything they can to get us back
there. Knowing these girls,
anything less than a Final Four will be considered a bad season.
Q-Can you name one or
two players you think are poised for breakthrough seasons next fall?
had a great season last year, I think we have only seen the beginning of what
Cassie Callahan has to offer. She
won't accept a "sophomore slump".
Also, I am banking on the fact that Hayley Johnson will
break her assist record.
Overall, our junior class has the desire to be the
best. They all will play an
important role in winning us championships.
Q-Outside of soccer,
what are some of your interests? What would people be surprised to find out
don't have too much time outside of soccer but when I do, I am quite the
dork. I have a new found love for
gardening, I LOVE Disneyland and I have a serious obsession for singing reality
shows. Don't tell anyone.
Q-When you first
entered UC San Diego in the fall of 2000, would you have predicted that you
would still be here today?
not! These past 12 years have been amazing. Time has flown by but I also have grown so much from my
experiences at UCSD. I am so
grateful for the opportunity to have played and coached for such an amazing
soccer program. Hopefully I'm
around for a while!
Previous Q & A Articles
Nick Howe (Men's Track & Field) May 13, 2012
Kris Lesovsky (Softball) March 16, 2012
Danny Susdorf (Baseball) March 6, 2012
Sarah Lizotte (Women's Water Polo) February 9, 2012
Charity Elliott (Women's Basketball) January 31, 2012
Alex Henley (Women's Swimming & Diving) January 17, 2012
James McCann (Men's Basketball) December 29, 2011
Emily Osga (Women's Basketball) December 19, 2011
John Butler (Men's Water Polo) November 28, 2011
Lauren Demos (Women's Volleyball) November 8, 2011
Cory Wolfrom (Men's Soccer) October 26, 2011
Ellen Wilson (Women's Soccer) October 1, 2011
Brian Donohoe (Men's Water Polo) September 4, 2011
Roxanne Brunsting (Women's Volleyball) August 19, 2011
Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer) August 4, 2011
Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer) August 4, 2011
Vincent Nguyen (Tennis) July 1, 2011
Patti Gerckens (Softball) May 26, 2011
Blake Tagmyer (Baseball) May 11, 2011
Theresa Richards (Women's Track & Field) April 27, 2011
Austin West (Men's Tennis) April 17, 2011
Drew Lawyer (Men's Crew) April 11, 2011
Keith Okasaki (Men's Golf) March 26, 2011
Matt Herman (Men's Swimming & Diving) March 12, 2011
Hanalei Crowell (Women's Water Polo) March 5, 2011
Camille Gaito (Softball) February 23, 2011
Tim Shibuya (Baseball) February 8, 2011
Carl Eberts (Men's Volleyball) January 31, 2011
Neda Nguyen (Women's Swimming & Diving) January 24, 2011
Amy Bianchini (Fencing) January 14, 2011
Lauren Freidenberg (Women's Basketball) January 3, 2011
Christian Hatch (Men's Basketball) December 24, 2010
Blake Langland (Men's Swimming & Diving) November 27, 2010
Sarah McTigue (Women's Soccer) November 8, 2010
Brandon Yee (Men's Soccer) October 11, 2010
Bryce Madsen (Men's Water Polo) September 23, 2010
Annette Ilg (Women's Soccer) September 9, 2010
Ricci Luyties (Women's Volleyball Head Coach) August 24, 2010
Kevin Messey (Head Athletics Trainer) July 7, 2010
Dan O'Brien (Baseball Head Coach) June 18, 2010
Christine Merrill (Women's Track & Field) June 14, 2010
Vance Albitz (Baseball) May 11, 2010
Erik Elliott (Men's Tennis) May 3, 2010
Kelly Fogarty (Women's Track & Field) April 23, 2010
Liz LaPlante (Women's Tennis Head Coach) April 15, 2010
Kirby St. John (Baseball) March 24, 2010
Dan Perdew (Men's Swimming) February 28, 2010
Calvin Ross (Men's Volleyball) February 20, 2010
Nicole Saari (Softball) February 4, 2010
Brad Kreutzkamp (Women's Water Polo Head Coach) January 18, 2010
Tyler Acevedo (Men's Basketball) January 4, 2010
Dr. Cliff Kubiak (UCSD's Faculty Athletic Rep) December 18, 2009
Chelsea Carlisle (Women's Basketball) December 9, 2009
Carianne Cunningham (Women's Swimming) November 23, 2009
Elena Inouye (Cross Country) November 6, 2009
David Morton (Men's Water Polo) October 28, 2009
Juan Pablo Carillo (Men's Swimming) October 19, 2009
Sara Spaventa (Women's Soccer) October 10, 2009
Karen Reis (Women's Volleyball) October 2, 2009
Daniel Pavitt (Men's Soccer) September 23, 2009
Daniel Anderson (Cross Country) September 11, 2009
Peter Gresham (Men's Water Polo) September 2, 2009
Alexia Zatarain (Women's Soccer) August 24, 2009
Elaine Chen (Women's Volleyball) August 12, 2009
Jared Kukura (Men's Soccer) July 30, 2009
Dawn Lee (Former Women's Soccer Standout) July 8, 2009
Rob Mamula (Director of Athletic Performance) June 18, 2009
Garrett Imeson (Baseball) June 8, 2009
Leon Baham (Men's Track & Field) May 21, 2009
Kristyn Lesovsky (Softball) May 8, 2009
Kazumi Negishi (Men's Tennis) May 5, 2009
Laiah Blue (Women's Track & Field) April 16, 2009
Ryan Andre (Men's Crew) April 2, 2009
Josh Tanner (Baseball) March 24, 2009
Anju Shimura (Women's Swimming) March 7, 2009
Stephanie Bocian (Women's Water Polo) February 20, 2009
Lauren Chastain (Softball) February 5, 2009
A.J. Maulhardt (Men's Basketball) January 28, 2009
Annette Ilg (Women's Basketball) January 22, 2009
Steven Hardy (Men's Swimming) January 13, 2009
Frank Fritsch (Men's Volleyball) January 5, 2009