By Dave Merchant firstname.lastname@example.org
Crystal (Krieger) Jones is still a star soccer player who might still have some time left on the field. She recently tried out for a soccer team which will be coming to Detroit. Despite not making it she still enjoys the sport.
Crystal is a 1998 graduate of Cabrini High School. Her high school sports included playing JV volleyball her freshman and sophomore years. Crystal played soccer all four years on varsity. She was a starting player her freshman year. She played forward and midfield.
“I was All-League, All-Catholic, All-Regional, and All-News-Herald 1st Team in high school,” she said with a smile. “I married my high school sweetheart, Dan Jones,” she said. Dan is a psychotherapist, school social worker, independent filmmaker, writer, and aspiring stand-up comedian. My children are Danny (18), Alex (16), and Charlotte (13). All three of my kids played soccer.”
She graduated in 2008 from Madonna University with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics. She completed her dietetic internship at the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers in Ann Arbor in 2009. She is a Registered Dietitian, and is a Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition. She has worked at St. Mary Mercy Livonia since 2010 as an Inpatient Clinical Dietitian and Outpatient Oncology Dietitian.
Her hobbies include playing soccer and watching soccer. “I enjoy going to the Detroit City FC games in Hamtramck,” she said. “I also enjoy playing ping pong and watching movies (including independent films, foreign films, and classic films).”
She still plays soccer and has many goals: “To continue to play quality soccer for as long as possible,” she said. “Be a healthy and active role model for my family, children, student athletes, and patients/clients.”
“I started playing soccer in fourth grade on a recreational team,” she said. “Our team lost every game and never scored a goal the entire season. During our end of the season tournament, the coach put me in at forward and I scored the first goal of the season and we won our first game. I then went on to score another goal in the second game of the tournament. This was the moment I fell in love with the game of soccer.”
“I would come home from school, do my homework, grab my soccer ball, and spend hours kicking the ball against my garage and working on footwork,” she said. “I grew up playing for the Dearborn Soccer Club in their select program (Little Caesars) and often played year-round. At one point, I was invited to try out for Olympic Development Program, but unfortunately I did not pursue the opportunity at that time.”
Recent sport activities: “I play outdoor soccer in the Great Lakes Women’s Soccer League in the summer. I play boarded indoor soccer year-round on an over 30 Co-Ed league every Friday night, and an over 30 women’s league every Sunday night at Total Soccer in Novi. I recently played in an over 30 women’s charity soccer tournament (Kicks for Kindness).”
“I tried out for the Inaugural Detroit City FC women’s team on Jan. 4th” she said. “I knew trying out would be a long shot at this point, but I can honestly say I played my heart out and gave it my all. I’m proud of myself for putting myself out there and proud of the way I played. At 39 years of age, I was one of the oldest players at tryouts and playing against ladies literally half my age. I’ve never doubted my ability, but to play with the best around Detroit, I now know that I can compete at that level and 100% played like I belonged there. These opportunities were not available to female soccer players when I was growing up, and playing soccer on a semi-professional/professional level has always been an aspiration for me. I did not make the team, but the experience was 100% worth it. The stands were full of avid soccer fans (specifically the Northern Guard) who cheered us on (playing drums and singing) during the tryout. When we came off the pitch and walked across the facility, the little girls in the crowd reached out to slap our hands. To me, it was worth it just for that. It was so exhilarating for me to see the excitement and anticipation for the women’s team, and know that future female soccer players now have these opportunities.”
With sports comes travel to Paris, France in 2019. She saw three games of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, including the USA vs Chile game. During the USA vs Chile game, Dan and her were on TV for a few moments in the crowd.
She has fond family memories of soccer: “Fond family memory is when our kids were younger and they all played soccer, we would spend all day watching our kids play soccer in back-to-back games,” she said. “We would often fit in a sideline family picnic.”
They belong to the Cabrini Parish. Her daughter, Charlotte, is in 8th grade at Cabrini Middle School, so they attend her sporting events and other school activities.
“Most recently, I was the head coach of the 7/8th grade Cabrini girls soccer team in fall 2019,” she said. “We went undefeated/took first place in our league and took 2nd place in the Downriver Soccer Classic. I was also head coach of the Cabrini JV high school boys’ soccer team in fall 2015. I was also an assistant coach for Cabrini’s CYO boys’ soccer team for few years, and coached for Cabrini Boosters a few times.”
Her advice for kids and adults is tremendous: “For adults, sports aren’t just for kids,” she said. There are plenty of adult sport leagues at many different skill levels available. Look into it! Sports not only improves your health through physical activity, but they can also provide an outlet for stress reduction and social interaction.”
“I have met some of the best people playing soccer throughout my life, and my soccer teammates are like family to me. Kids-If you’re passionate about a sport you’re playing, practice on your own outside of team practices. During team practices, practice like you’re playing in a tied game. You’ve got to push yourself to get better. Coaches can teach you skills and motivate you to be a better player, but ultimately it is up to you to do the work necessary to improve your game.”