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Okanagan Challenge spotlight
Each week during the Pacific Coast Soccer League season in the Capital News, freelance reporter Drew Pihlainen profiles a member of the 2012 Okanagan Challenge.
Today, Austin Ian Jones
Position: Midfielder (central)
University team: UBCO
Q: How long have you been with the Challenge?
A: I played some games for them last year. I was predominantly playing U-21, but I played three games for the Challenge last year, so this is my first full year.
Q: Are you finding it easy to settle in? What do you find the main difference is in the PCSL (compared to university soccer)?
A: Yeah, it’s pretty similar to university soccer—the level of play is pretty similar, it’s a little tougher though. You’re playing against 19-22 year-olds in university and now you’re playing full-grown men, so the size and the speed is the biggest difference.
Q: How did you get into soccer?
A: My parents just signed me up, and it took off from there. I enjoyed it right away and tried to get better. We had a big backyard when I was younger so I was out there all the time playing soccer.
Q: Where do you hope to take your soccer career? Have you thought about playing professionally?
A: I thought about it but, realistically, I don’t think it’s going to happen, so I’m just trying to save some money by playing university soccer and then go on—maybe try coaching afterwards.
Q: Does that mean you pay extra close attention to how Dante (Zanatta, Okanagan Challenge head coach) goes about coaching?
A: He has a certain kind of coaching style, it does take getting used to, but I think if I was to ever coach it’d be a little different than the way Dante does it.
Q: What are the particular challenges of being a central midfielder?
A: A lot of quick thinking, a lot of running, that’s for sure. Just being able to think three, four moves ahead and play one- and two-touch soccer.
Q: Who’s your role model?
A: Paul Scholes from Manchester United (in the English Premier League). Just for being able to do it at the top level for so many years and then coming out of retirement near the end of the season to come play—and he was still the best on the field.
Q: Were you watching any English Premier League games last weekend?
A: (laughing) I watch MOST Premier League games…
Q: Which team do you support?
A: Manchester United—unfortunately, cause we lost (the league).
Q: Which national team will you be cheering on this summer at Euro 2012?
A: England, definitely. My grandparents on my father’s side are from England.