Wales youth international Emily Jones moved more than 300 miles away from home to embark on her newest footballing journey. How has she adapted to such a huge move at just 17 years old?
Growing up in North Wales, Emily Jones always felt destined to play football professionally. Whether she was doing keepy-ups on the sideline of her dad’s weekend matches or having a kick about with the boys from school, Emily was always with a ball at her feet.
Emily started off with Northop Hall Girls when she was just 10 years old and continued to push herself into her teens as she blossomed into a highly sought-after starlet.
The winger joined Everton Ladies just three years later and spent four seasons with the Toffees.
At 17, Emily made the first huge move of her career, signing with Lewes FC Women in the FA Women’s Championship.
In an interview with the club, Lewes manager Fran Alonso said he discovered Emily when she was at Everton and kept an eye on her ever since.
When she was asked how it felt to be approached by Alonso, Emily responded, “It was a nice feeling to feel wanted.”
“It’s a really good set up with a really good manager,” Emily continued. “I think this is the best place to help me keep improving. Also it’s a bit of motivation now, I want to prove people right and show them why they signed me.”
A big move from family
Despite moving more than 300 miles away from her family and girlfriend, Emily feels ready for her new challenge.
Her move to Lewes was heavily supported by those closest to her and her parents helped her make the decision to accept the move.
Emily said making such a big move at a young age was tough at first because of how close she is with her family and how much she’ll miss her dog.
Sadly, the one person who couldn’t be there to celebrate Emily’s move was her granddad who sadly passed away last year. He was her biggest fan and always wanted to know every detail about every one of Emily’s matches.
After losing him, Emily said it was “weird to be doing this next bit without him” but she knows that he will be proud of her.
We asked Emily about her experience on an international level – both representing and supporting her country.
Emily is a huge Wales fan and looks up to a lot of Jayne Ludlow’s players. Jess Fishlock is the player who inspires Emily’s game the most.
When chatting about Fishlock, Emily commented on her 5’2 stature and said: “I’m small too, so if she can do it and be as good as she is, I can do it.”
“A main goal is to get into that senior Wales team with the likes of Tash Harding and Jess Fishlock.”
We also asked Emily who stood out for her during the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Full of praise for champions USA, Emily also said, “Sweden as a team stood out to me. They came out of nowhere!”
Emily Jones has a very mature head on young shoulders. We asked the 17-year-old where she could see herself in five years’ time within her footballing career:
“I don’t like to think that far ahead,” Emily replied. “Obviously I want to be a full-time professional footballer more than anything, but I need to achieve smaller goals to get there.
“I want to establish myself at Lewes first and be successful with them.”
Continuing on about her new club, Emily said, “I’m excited to see the level of the game, compared to U20s football at the academy.”
The winger is applying all of her focus on the here and now. Emily is dedicated to working hard and taking every day in her stride to succeed as a top-quality footballer.
“Playing football is all I want to do but I know it doesn’t come easy – hence why I’ve moved 300 miles away! It’s just the sort of the thing you have to do.”
Emily suffered an injury two seasons ago which forced her out of action for the majority of the campaign.
“I had things that I wanted to achieve that I couldn’t,” Emily went on to say. “I was sort of scared to get back into things, I didn’t really feel I was back to my best but I’m all sorted now!”
A fantasy dinner party
Finally, we asked Emily Jones who she would invite to a fantasy dinner party she was hosting.
“Cristiano Ronaldo, I’d do anything to meet him! I’m a Manchester United fan and my first memories of United were Ronaldo and Rooney together. I remember crying when he left for Real Madrid!
“My first time at Old Trafford was for a game against Newcastle and Ronaldo scored his only Man United hat-trick. That’s always stuck with me. I’ve always idolised him.
“My second person would be Kevin Hart. If you’re having dinner with people you’ve never met, he’s someone who will break the ice. He’s my favourite comedian.
“Finally, Sir Alex Ferguson. I’d like to have an insight into his way of coaching and obviously he was the best manager in the world. I still don’t believe there’s anyone better!”
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