Alumnus Brings International Influence to Colonials Soccer as Coach

Craig Jones. Photo credit: Greg Fiume

Growing up in Wales, Craig Jones didn’t picture himself cheering for the United States at the 2014 World Cup. He played on and captained the Welsh Youth National soccer team at various age levels.

As a teenager, a friend of the family in the United Kingdom suggested Craig should look at playing college soccer in the United States. Luckily for GW, this friend also knew former men’s assistant coach John McNamara. After a visit to Washington, D.C., GW sealed the deal.

Craig Jones, MISPH BS '99 photo by Greg Fiume
GW Men’s Soccer Coach Craig Jones, MISPH BS ’99
photo by Greg Fiume

“The university was, and is, academically a great institution, and the location certainly appealed to me, being in the capital of the United States,” Coach Jones recalled.  “GW sold itself to me, to be honest with you.”

Even as a student-athlete, coaching was something that Coach Jones saw in his future. Each summer he returned to Europe to complete his coaching licenses.

Coach Jones joined the Colonials coaching staff in 2002 as a volunteer assistant coach, moved up to first assistant in 2009, and then became head coach in 2011.

Like Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Lonergan, Coach Jones believes quality recruiting in the D.C. area and internationally is critical to the Colonials success.

“Telling my story certainly helps for international recruits,” Coach Jones noted. “If I can come over from Wales and survive and succeed, they can do it too.”

Coach Jones has recruited three international student-athletes as part of the incoming freshman class joining GW men’s soccer. He was recently in Trinidad recruiting and working to build local contacts.

“D.C. is a very international city; GW is a very international school,” he said. “The student-athletes we recruit want an education. GW gives you that education and a degree to be successful in the workplace, and D.C. offers expansive opportunities in terms of a job market for all students.”

Few people know better about the opportunities that GW can provide than a former student-athlete who now coaches at his alma mater.

Passion: Who are you rooting for at World Cup?
I’m rooting for the U.S.A. I’ve been over here longer than I lived in Wales. I would like England to do well, but head-to-head, I’d be rooting for the U.S.A. over England.

Prediction: Who will win the World Cup?
It’s tough to go against Brazil, playing at home.