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Women/Girls

Get to know – Abby Jones

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Ahead of their big game against Keynsham Town at Vitality Stadium on Sunday, AFC Bournemouth puts the spotlight on some of the women's team's players, continuing with vice-captain Abby Jones.

She’s inspirational and she’s inspired – meet Abby Jones.

A key and popular member of the AFC Bournemouth women’s squad, versatile defender Jones prides herself on a strong work ethic, both on and off the pitch.

The 20-year-old, who was born in Poole and raised in Sandford, is now in her seventh season with the club having started out in the under-14s.

She made her first-team debut at 16 and has taken the climb into the National League in her stride, the Cherries currently battling for promotion to the third tier under boss Steve Cuss and his assistants Matt Divine and Craig Trite.

Schooled at Sandford Primary and Lytchett Minster, Jones works full-time as a coach for the AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust and admits her life is consumed by football.

She said: “I feel as though I’ve developed as an adult, as a player and in my job as a coach, especially in the past couple of years.

“I’ve definitely improved mentally and that was something I really needed to up my game with. Being appointed vice-captain was a great honour for me and I have a lot of pride when I wear the armband.

“I captained the team for the first time in the absence of Gemma Hillier when we beat Portsmouth in the Hampshire Senior Cup and it was a big achievement for me.

“It was funny because the captain always says something in the team huddle and I forgot! I looked at everyone and said ‘oh yeah, I’m supposed to say something’.

“I said ‘work your socks off’ because that’s my mentality. If you work your hardest and lose the game, you know you couldn’t have done anything more.”

Jones feels her mental toughness has improved significantly since she started working with Phil Lea, a personal trainer based on the Nuffield Industrial Estate in Poole.

“I’ve been going there for about a year and it has really helped me,” said Jones. “When I’m resting or between sets, we talk about the mental side of things.

“Something Phil once said to me always sticks with me. He said it’s all about consistency and sticking to the path. When I’m struggling or having a down day, I think of that.

“I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am in my gym journey, my football journey or my nutrition journey without Phil.

“My teammate Molly Barron-Clark has the mentality everyone wants. We played Exeter a few weeks ago and she had been struggling with injury.

“But she came back into the team and was my player of the match. I sent her a message after the game and told her I wanted to have her mentality. She just never stops working and always tries her best. That’s all you can ever do in a game.

“She’s incredible. Even in training, just her presence and her voice. She’s a huge role model for me and everybody should strive to be like her.

“Our goalkeeper Katie Scadding is someone else who inspires me. Scads is my best mate and we have developed our friendship over the years.

“We coach the Bournemouth University team together and I see her pretty much every day of the week. I don’t get a day off from her!

“She’s another incredible person and I honestly don’t know what I’d do without her. When I’ve got a problem, I’ll message or call her, she’s always the first person I turn to. She’s very kind and has such a big heart.

“On the coaching side, I have taken a lot from Sarina Wiegman, the Lionesses coach, especially about her mentality to get to know her players better.

“It’s something I have taken into my university coaching, if you get to know your players better, then they will almost be more coachable because they want to be around you.”

With the women’s setup having been brought under the direction of the club this summer, Jones says there has been a noticeable difference in the strength of the squad.

“There has been a massive change and the owners have invested heavily into the women’s and girls’ set-ups. It’s amazing and what we all want.

“I’ve definitely seen an upgrade in the talent and there are so many people playing now. A few years ago, you might only see one or two girls at after-school clubs, now there are lots.

“We have girls’ soccer camps, girls’ teams and female coaches. The women’s team train on Friday nights at the new training dome in Canford Magna.

“We’ve had players coming in from different countries and we’ve brought in international players. It upscales the team and also brings in different cultures.

“There has also been an upscale in the kit as well. When I first joined, my parents had to pay for my kit and it cost about £200. Now, we get it all for free.

“It’s great to be part of a club which is going places. I would love to play in the Women’s Super League and would love to play there with AFC Bournemouth.”

This article appeared in MATCHDAY for the visit of Sheffield United earlier this season.

To book tickets and select seats for the Keynsham game, click here. 

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