Jones Comes Back Stronger Than Ever After Injury

 -- By Dominica Nemec

Sophomore women's soccer star Amanda Jones is back in full swing after her star rookie season was cut short by an injury.

 Jones began her freshman year as a Charlotte 49er in the fall of 2011 and quickly began making an impact on the soccer team. She played in 16 games with eight starts and even became the Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Week after scoring a goal and providing an assist against High Point University. It was in the first conference game on October 1 when the team traveled to Saint Louis University to play the Billikens when Jones' season was suddenly shut down. In the first 20 minutes of the game, Jones suffered an ankle sprain.

What seemed to be a simple sprained ankle at first turned into a much larger injury.

"At first they said I would be out for two weeks, then that turned to four weeks, and then they said eight to 12 weeks," Jones said.  She had a high ankle sprain that was also affected on both sides.

"My whole ankle was affected."

However, Jones did not let her injury sideline her for as long as her trainers thought it would. With her determination, Jones worked on rehabilitating her ankle nearly every day, managing to cut her projected injury time in half. After walking around in a boot for four weeks, she made it back in time for the conference tournament in Dayton, Ohio in November.

"Even though we lost in the tournament, it was nice to get back onto the field," she said.

 After missing much of the second half of her debut season, Jones was eager make an impact with her team in the 2012 season. The 49ers are charging forward with a 6-3-1 record so far. Jones' three assists lead the team, while her three goals and nine points are second-most on the squad so far this season.

"We're off to a great start," Jones said. "Last year it took us 12 games to win three, and this year it only took us five games."

When asked what the team has done to improve, she said that the large number of sophomores has taken on an important leadership role, and that the whole team has a great bond.

Jones herself is back to her top form with her first goal of the season coming from the 49ers opener against College of Charleston. She says that, because the sprained ankle was her first serious injury, she feels no mental or physical restrictions when playing. Mainly, Jones credits her recovery to the support of her teammates.

"All the girls really reached out to me, they were always there for me. We are all so close, closer than last year, even."

You can see Jones and the rest of the Charlotte 49ers women's soccer team in action on Friday, September 28 at 7 p.m. in their first conference game against VCU at Transamerica Field.