Season a reversal of fortune for Beckley, Jones
Huskies soccer coach David Cope figured that Chris Jones would be his starting goalie. Nothing against backup Beau Beckley. It’s just that Jones had been the main man in 2001.
“Coming into the season Beau had worked hard and stuff, but he hadn’t done it at the varsity level,” Cope said. “That’s a big difference. We really expected Chris to be there.”
This wasn’t news to either Jones or Beckley.
“I was there just to support Jones and play the best when I was in,” Beckley said.
Enter Raul Chavarria. In warmups, before the season opener against Colorado Academy, Chavarria put a shot on goal and Jones got the save, but he landed awkwardly.
“I got the ball with my right hand, but my rotator cuff popped up,” Jones said. “It hurt like hell.”
Jones played the first half and then gave way to Beckley. And with that, for all intents and purposes, Beckley became the starting keeper.
“Cope let me know at halftime. I was really nervous,” Beckley said. “Jones had a shutout and didn’t want to mess that up.”
He didn’t. Battle Mountain won 22-0. And he really hasn’t “messed up” since. Beckley’s had a low 1.58 goals-against average and he’s in the top 10 in fewest goals allowed among 4A keepers, who have logged more than 1,000 minutes between the pipes.
“He’s remained calm in stressful situations, which is really important,” Cope said. “And he’s tried to exude some confidence in himself to the rest of the team. I think he’s made technical changes, like he’s much better going down for low balls now. He’s better holding onto crosses.”
And this tale has happily not had a Wally-Pipp ending for Jones. He’s found new life as a field player and scored the game-winning goal – the first of his high-school career – against Alamosa, which sent the Huskies into today’s first-round, state-playoff game at Broomfield tonight at 6:30.
Jones’ shift to striker came as a result of a hallway encounter with his coach.
“I actually saw Cope one morning in the hallway and it was coming up to the (second) Steamboat game when I became eligible again,” Jones said. “I told him that I was happy with Beau and how well he was playing and I talked to him about playing forward.”
And it’s that sort of attitude that scored points with coach.
“The one thing about Chris is that he’s been nothing but 100 percent supportive the whole time,” Cope said. “When he was ineligible, he was travelling to games on his own and supporting the team. When he’s played, he’s fit into whatever role we’ve asked him to play in. It’s been great to see that.”
The interesting thing, though is that both retain the eccentric personality of a goalie. For instance, when the Huskies decided to dye their hair for the playoffs, it was hard to distinguish between regular-season Jones and postseason Jones.
Meanwhile, whereas most players pump themselves up for games by listing to rock, Beckley’s pregame routine includes Flamenco guitar music.
And they also share a burning desire to win tonight.
“I’m extremely excited,” Beckley said Tuesday. “To still be out here October 22nd, still playing soccer is been a dream of mine for four years.”
Travel East on I-70 to Denver. Take the Wadsworth Blvd. Exit and turn left traveling North. Travel approximately 15 miles to Broomfield. Turn right on Midway Blvd. Travel two miles to Main Street. Turn left on Main Street to Eagle Way. Turn left on Eagle Way. Turn right into the parking lot next to the stadium on Eagle Way.
Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at email@example.com.