ERIE, PA. – From saving shots to someday saving lives; Clearfield Area High School graduate Madison (Madi) Jones has had a strong three and a half years as a member of the Penn State Behrend women’s soccer program and the large Penn State Behrend community.
(Photo from Penn State Behrend Athletics)
Originally from DuBois, the Jones family moved to Clearfield during her elementary school days, a decision that would help Jones try out the game of soccer for the first time in her life. “I was not able to do sports for a while growing up because my parents both worked out of town and could not take me to and from practice,” said the current Behrend Lion.
At the age of 10, she started as a field player at center midfield. In the U12 league, she volunteered for the first time to test out her skills as a goalie. From there, her appreciation for not just the position, but the game of soccer overall flourished and Jones would end up being the anchor for the Clearfield Lady Bison’s soccer program for three of her four years of high school.
Jones ended her career at Clearfield High on a positive note, racking up a Mountain League All-Star selection and being selected as one of the program’s captains in each of her final three high school seasons. She ended up choosing Penn State Behrend, a women’s soccer program that is synonymous with success and being one of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) best programs.
The Clearfield County native wasted little time making her presence felt on the pitch as she served as the starting goal-keeper as a true freshman on a team that would win its eighth consecutive AMCC title and the 14th in program history. This also meant the Behrend Lions qualified for the NCAA Tournament, a place where Jones hopes the program can get back to in 2021.
“Winning that would be a big deal for the whole team. We have been playing really well so far this season and our senior group really wants to hit a home run and go out with a bang.”
The 2018-19 season and school year proved to be a great one, but the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years made for some difficult times for Jones and her teammates. The Behrend Lions failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nine seasons in 2019 and a few months later, the COVID-19 pandemic started to take hold throughout the world. The effects of COVID-19 caused a cancelled 2020 season for all Penn State Behrend fall sports, meaning Jones missed out on her junior season of collegiate soccer.
“Not having that season caused me to get caught up in some other interests and I really was not up to my standard this spring. I give a lot of credit to our strength and conditioning coach (Chris Viscuso) for helping me get into the shape I want to be in and for motivating me to have a great senior season.”
Jones spent the summer getting back into game shape and spent several days a week doing goal drills to get back into the swing of college soccer. So far, the time she has invested has paid off with the Lions out to a 6-1 mark so far this campaign. Though her college career both in and out of soccer has been unconventional, she has proved to still make the most out of the opportunities she has been given.
In college, she has been tabbed an Academic All-AMCC performer in each of her three years with the program, has been selected as a Third Team All-AMCC selection twice, and is also an inductee to the Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Society, a nonprofit organization that recognizes student-athletes who excel both on and off the playing field.
Jones has saved plenty of shots in her days as a goalie, 102 at Behrend to be exact. However, no shot will compare to the difference this young woman will make some day in the neuroscience field. Jones will complete her degree in biochemistry this December from Penn State Behrend and intends to begin a PhD program in neuroscience beginning in the Fall of 2022. She is hopeful to research neurological degenerative diseases and bring more awareness and research to the subject matter.
Presently, Jones is completing research at Penn State on brain cells and the impact stress can have on those particular brain cells. Some day, she may just work on some ground breaking research, something to be proud of as she soon will be a first generation college graduate, something Jones is more proud of than anything she has accomplished on the soccer field.
To get to this point, she credits a collection of people including her soccer coach growing up, Adrianne Peters Sipes, for being like a second mom to her being so supportive in her life both in and out of soccer. She also credits her teammates from high school and college soccer for being with her to create some of the best times in her life. She also credits her parents Debra and Jack Jones for being great parents and for their support in all her endeavors.
While December will mark the end of a chapter in Madi Jones’ life, it will also allow her to regroup, find a PhD program she is passionate about, and to explore the world. She plans to visit New Zealand and Madagascar during the early part of 2022, trips she is excited to embark upon.
Madi Jones today serves as the anchor to the Behrend Lions defense, but someday will hope to serve as the anchor in the neuroscience research industry. From first generation college student to doctor will be an amazing story to revisit in the near future.