Her Own Path: Chloe Jones' 'Grind for Greatness'


This article appears in the January edition of US Lacrosse Magazine, available exclusively to US Lacrosse members. Join or renew today! Thank you for your support.

Chloe Jones committed to Syracuse in September. But securing a spot with one of the top women’s lacrosse teams in the country was not the most impressive thing she’s done so far this year. Jones started making a name for herself in the lacrosse community because of the ways she has gone viral and given back to her community during the pandemic. 

In a time riddled with uncertainty, Jones has still found a way to take her game to new levels. She comes up with creative workouts to improve her strength, speed and lacrosse IQ. A video Jones posted on Twitter of her pacing a treadmill while simultaneously throwing a lacrosse ball against a rebounder has nearly 65,000 views.

Feffie Barnhill, a National Lacrosse Hall of Famer and Jones’ coach at Ursuline Academy in Wilmington, Del., sees a rare work ethic in the junior midfielder. Jones runs a 5.39-second 40-yard dash and competed in 14 tournaments from Nov. 16, 2019-Nov. 22, 2020. 

“Everything she attempts, she’s got to do it to the best of her ability,” Barnhill said. “There’s not a high percentage of student-athletes at that age who know that direction and have that internal motivation to improve.”

Jones’ father, Dante, is a former college football player and longtime football coach. He’s no stranger to the treadmill or weight room. He said he started instilling the value of hard work into Chloe from a very young age.

“Our slogan is, ‘Grind for greatness,’” Dante Jones said. “You want to be as fast as you can be. You want to catch as best as you can. When you start looking at other people, you take yourself off of your own path.”

The message has paid off, evidenced by the tremendous success Chloe Jones has had at Ursuline as well as with the Eastern Shore Lacrosse Club. 

As impressive as Jones’ mentality and workout regimen is, her real mark on the lacrosse world has come from her ability to find ways to enrich the lives of others off the field. She was named an NCSA/US Lacrosse Impact Athlete on Oct. 9.

In September, shortly before she committed to Syracuse, Jones attended the Nation United Summit, a two-day event at US Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, Md., with the goal of bringing together a racially diverse group of girls from different club teams to compete and attend seminars. They discussed ways that they could bring more diversity to the sport.

As of 2019, the NCAA reported only 3 percent of college women’s lacrosse players were Black. Lacrosse originated in Native American culture, but the modern game is played by predominantly white athletes. Events like the Nation United Summit have materialized in the wake of a racial awakening in the sport. Jones wants to be a part of this movement.

“Being someone who is Black, my complexion and my color means a lot about me,” she said. “It is important for people to recognize the problems that [we] have to go through, especially being one of the only [Black] ones on your team. It just makes the environment very different.”

Jones decided to take matters into her own hands at the local level. She started a free youth clinic for girls age 8-14 who live in disadvantaged communities. Once a week, she spent an hour at the Boys and Girls Club in Dover, Del., teaching girls the basics of lacrosse as part of the Green Beret Project. More importantly, she provided a positive outlet for people who come from places that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

“Kids have a lot more time on their hands,” Jones said. “They should be doing something that will keep them on the right path.” 

Jones comes from a family of 7. She is the oldest of four girls. As a result of her role in that environment, she is used to being the one that sets the example.

“It really motivates me to be a better person knowing that I have four other girls looking at me,” Jones said. “I’m showing them that you can help others. You can be a good role model in your community.”

Dante Jones, who works at the Boys and Girls Club and also coaches football at Delaware State’s Early College High School, said an added perk of the youth clinic is that it allows young Black girls to see lacrosse at a young age.

“If we can expose more young girls to it at an early age, maybe there will be a lot more Chloe Joneses that come along,” he said.

Dante Jones anticipates that his daughter will excel academically and athletically at Syracuse.

“When you have all of these characteristics already built inside of you from family structure, success is just inevitable,” he said.

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