With 2016-17 season tryouts complete, Chattanooga FC Academy has the deepest talent pool in the history of the club. The club had nearly 800 athletes go through the process.
This month our spotlight shines on the talented captain and center fullback for the ’03 Premier team. On the pitch he eats forwards for lunch, devouring the ball when it comes near him. On as well as off the pitch he’s smart and talented. He even sings and dances! Find out more as we introduce the June spotlight athlete, Jonas Billington.
CFCA: What position do you play?
Jonas: “The #4, center fullback.”
CFCA: For those that don’t know what the 4 position is how do you explain that?
Jonas: “It’s part of the U.S. soccer numbering system where each player on the pitch is assigned a number. The number 4 is the center fullback. We use this in ODP.”
CFCA: Tell us about ODP (Olympic Development Team).
Jonas: “I’m on the Tennessee State ODP team. ODP is an opportunity to play with other players your age in the State. If you make the State team you play other State teams and train together with other kids that made the team.”
CFCA: What happens when you make the State team?
Jonas: “You go to the Southeast Regional camp and tryouts and play against the best players in the South. I’ll be at the camp and tryouts in Alabama in July.”
CFCA: Tell us about your soccer career so far.
Jonas: “I started soccer when I was 6 in Florida. I played in Florida for a year and then we moved to North Carolina where I played for Charlotte United ’03 A team for two years. Then we moved to Chattanooga where I played for PSA and Dalton FC for a year, and I’ve spent the last 2 years playing for CFCA.”
CFCA: Do you play for your school?
Jonas: “Yes, I play striker for East Hamilton. I’ve started every game and am a leader on the team.”
CFCA: Who is your CFCA coach?
Jonas: “Coach Dean. Dean Wilson.”
CFCA: What would Coach Dean say about you and your play?
Jonas: “I work hard and don’t like to lose??”
CFCA: Well Jonas, we spoke to Coach Dean and he said you are a good leader and always try to please your coach.
Jonas: “That sounds like me!”
CFCA: Do you know who your upcoming Coach will be?
Jonas: “Coach McBride. I hear he’s a former Scottish ODP player and coach.”
CFCA: What are you looking forward to with Coach McBride?
Jonas: “My former Coach said that I will really like him. So, I am looking forward to meeting him and being coached by him.”
CFCA: What do you like most about playing for CFCA?
Jonas: “I like the competition we play against and playing with good players – my teammates.”
CFCA: Do you do any training outside of regular CFCA training?
Jonas: “Yeah. I’ll be doing Rio40 training in June with some teammates. I do some training with my dad at home. We work on agility with an agility ladder. He created this drill where he puts a bunch of cones out and I have to dribble and move in a tight space around them using the soles of my feet to move around the cones. It kinda looks like I am dancing with the ball.”
CFCA: Tell us about your favorite soccer moment so far?
Jonas: “When I scored the winning goal in PK’s during a division championship game for East Hamilton (over CSLA). We won the game and my teammates rushed, tackled and dog-piled on top of me!”
CFCA: How do you prepare for a match?
Jonas: “I usually eat a banana. I do some drills where I touch the ball a lot before the match. Then I say a prayer.”
CFCA: Who is your favorite team?
Jonas: “Real Madrid”
Jonas: “I like the way they play. They pass and move well.”
CFCA: Who is your favorite player?
Jonas: “Steven Gerrard (former Liverpool midfielder and current L.A. Galaxy player), because he is good and a strong player. He’s a good leader.”
CFCA: Speaking of leader, you are the captain of your team correct?
CFCA: What does being a leader look like to you?
Jonas: “Getting my teammates ready for a game. Playing your best even when you think know one is looking. Guiding and encouraging my teammates.”
CFCA: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Jonas: “I see myself being a college soccer player.”
CFCA: At this early age do have any colleges in mind?
Jonas: “Davidson College (NC)”
CFCA: Tell us about Jonas off the pitch?
Jonas: “I sing in chorus at East Hamilton School. I like to act. I like video games (laughing).”
CFCA: Are you part of any groups or organizations?
Jonas: “Yes, I am a member the National Junior Honor Society.
My dad and I started a Sunday Soccer program for kids and parents but it hasn’t really caught on here. We did it in Charlotte with other kids and dads. We just scrimmage for an hour or two on Sundays. So we’ve talked about maybe trying to get something started in an under privileged part of town – to give those who don’t normally play soccer an opportunity to play.”
CFCA: What advice do you have for a younger CFCA player?
Jonas: “I’d say practice your position, stay fit and eat well.”
CFCA: Last question for you Jonas. How do you feel about the birth year switch?
Jonas: “I’m sad to lose some of my friends moving to the older team, but it’s a good opportunity to play with kids more close to my age and make new friends.”
If you have a recommendation for our July Athlete Spotlight, email us.