The Corner, Featuring Grace Jones

Jun 12, 2020

Player Name: Grace Jones

Year in School: Graduating Senior

Sport: Soccer

Name of School: Poquoson High School

Brief bio/summary from coach about player:

Grace has been with the Poquoson HS Soccer Program since the 8th grade.  Grace played two seasons with the Junior Varsity and then the last three years on Varsity. Grace predominately played as an outside defender, but was always willing to play other positions as needed.

Grace was likely the most coachable player in the program and always set the stage with a positive attitude. Grace always led by example by working tremendously hard during training and in matches. Grace also spent countless hours working outside of regularly scheduled training to bring the team together by organizing preseason training and building up her teammates when they were down. She is a true selfless leader.

Lets hear from Grace

What has helped you develop the leadership mindset you have today?

Personal drive, my teammates, and my coaches have all helped me develop the leadership mindset I have today. One of my teammates, Katie Robinson has been especially helpful. Katie and I have worked together for so many years striving to become better people and better leaders for our team.

How do you think improving as a leader has helped you become a better athlete/player?

Improving as a leader also improved my drive to become a better athlete. I trained harder and started seeing the bigger picture. I not only wanted to be a better player for myself, but for my team as well.

How do you think improving as a leader has helped your team?

My improving as a leader helped my team in many ways. I improved my communication, began stepping out of my comfort zone, lost my fear of giving input, and became available for every single one of my teammates. This all helped us become more of a complete unit.

Was there a moment where you recall “turning the corner” and realizing you had to take the next step as a leader?

My turning point was my freshman year playing high school soccer when I was voted captain by my teammates. Up until this point I didn’t really know much about being a leader. When I became a captain, I completely embraced the role and told myself I was going to be the best captain I could be.

What do you do differently now that you may not have done in the past as a leader?

In the past, I’d been reserved and worried what other people would think. Now I am more confident in myself and my abilities. I’m striving to become a true servant leader by focusing on my teammates first.

How do other’s view Grace’s leadership growth?

Head Coach Tom Weih:

Grace has always been a positive role model and a natural leader since she joined the program. Other players looked up to her as they faced challenges both on and off the pitch.  Grace would often make herself vulnerable during team discussions to open the door for other players to speak up. I believe her most significant growth point was her confidence and the ability to stay calm under tense situations.

Assistant Coach Gregg McMullin: 

Coach Tom nailed it with his description of Grace! Grace has a high level of empathy, is always the first to encourage her teammates, puts her team above her own interests, and is always looking to improve as a player and leader. Grace played a key role in the organization of one of our programs key, player led, culture building staples. We have the concept of Families ( think The 6 on steroids ), which involves building support groups of 4/5 players. These groups typically have at least one older player and include players from the JV program as well. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, our season was cancelled, but we fully engaged with Lead ‘Em Up activities. Instead of having the entire program on virtual calls, I had the Family Leads on calls where we did the activities. Once the session was over, the Family leads were charged with bringing their families together and running the Lead ‘Em Up activities for their group.  Grace provided great leadership to her family. Both Grace and her family were diligent and provided thoughtful responses for each leadership challenge.

How has Lead ‘Em Up has impacted your program?

Head Coach Tom Weih: 

Lead ‘Em Up has had a positive impact on the Poquoson High School Soccer Program. The tools and sessions have built cohesion among the players and coaches, and has taught these student athletes many skills to prepare them for life after soccer. Lead ‘Em Up has also helped build trust among the players and coaches, which is a critical ingredient that most coaches overlook. I look forward to embedding Lead ‘Em Up activities more consistently in the future.

Do you have a player worthy of being spotlighted? 

We want to provide you a tool to keep your players engaged, growing as leaders and continuing to feel connected to their team/teammates; The 21-Day Leadership Playbook. 

This FREE 21-Day Leadership Playbook is filled with various Lead ‘Em Up exercises, uniquely modified for players to do on their own, as part of a team-wide exercise.

Download your FREE playbook right here!

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