Clemson forward Courtney Jones, who plays on the women’s soccer team, has made the most of the odd season thus far with three starts in five games, one goal and three points on the year for the nationally ranked Tigers.
Jones joined the Packer and Durham Show on the ACC Network recently and explained the difficulty of playing in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
“Honestly it’s all mental. Everyone on my team has really been struggling from the get-go since we left campus back in March,” she said.
The uncertainty this summer led to mental health struggles for much of the team, but the Tigers held on in hopes of playing some semblance of a regular season this fall.
“A lot of my team had high anxiety throughout the summer,” Jones continued. “But as time went on even though our questions were never really given answers it got better because we all had a little hope in our heart that we would have a season.”
One of the more difficult aspects of playing in a bubble within the conference has been the social strain of only hanging out as a team. But, Jones feels the adversity brought the unit together and has contributed to the team’s success.
Now, the team has a routine and is back to regular life in some ways despite the strain of precautions meant to curb the spread of the virus. The team has yet to use its brand new soccer operations facility because of restrictions that have paid off for the Tigers.
“We don’t get those normal team bonding experiences in the locker room that we usually do because so far, we are the only team that hasn’t gotten COVID and we don’t want to jinx it,” the redshirt junior said. “We haven’t used our locker rooms because our coaches think that’s the magic trick. We haven’t been able to use our new facility yet and hopefully we can by the spring if we are lucky.”
Other restrictions include, wearing masks when refilling water bottles, having face shields and social distancing on bus rides and a constant barrage of Coronavirus tests. But Jones is just glad to have a season this fall even if there is no NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament this fall.
“There is caution everywhere, we can’t refill our waters without a mask and there are so many weird precautions,” she said. ”Testing is becoming normal now so that’s something that is okay, and we are just lucky to be competing and playing our sport.”
—photo courtesy of Clemson Athletic Communications