In her fourth season at Florida Southern is Brittany Jones, a central Florida native who was hired in February of 2012 as the third head women’s soccer coach in team history following Christine Rizzierri (1998-2005) and Ben Strawbridge (2006-11). During her first three years with the Moccasins, Jones has guided them to the semifinals of the Sunshine State Conference tournament on two occasions, and helped them earn six wins or ties over nationally ranked teams, the most for any of the three coaches Florida Southern has had. She also put the Mocs back in the national rankings themselves during the 2014 season, their first such appearance in four years while maintaining their status as one of the best academic programs at the Division II level.
Last year’s team reached #22 in the NSCAA national poll and #3 in the South Region rankings at the end of September before injuries took their toll in October. Prior to that, however, the Moccasins defeated #8 Barry 2-1 to hand the SSC regular season champion Buccaneers their only loss of the regular season. They also tied 13th-ranked Tampa just four days later, and earlier in the year they played to a draw against #22 Lenoir-Rhyne, which went on to finish as the Southeast Region runner-up. Those represented just three of the Moccasins’ six games against top-25 competition in 2014, the most of any team in the SSC during the regular season.
Impressive results against some of the nation’s top Division II programs are nothing new for Jones, however. In her brief time on the Florida Southern sideline, the Moccasins also tied top-ranked West Florida in 2013, and in each of her three seasons they’ve posted either a win or a tie over a University of Tampa squad that was ranked #16 or higher. Her 15-27-11 record has come against the most difficult regular season schedule any team in the SSC has faced over the last three years. In fact, in 25 of her 53 career games as a head coach, Jones has faced a team that was either ranked in the NSCAA top-25 at the time they played or would go on to receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Two years ago in 2013, the Moccasins played a school-record 10 games against NCAA playoff teams, which contributed to their .608 opponents’ winning percentage, one of the highest figures in the country and the second highest in the South Region. The 2013 season ended with Florida Southern becoming the first #6 seed to ever reach the semifinals of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament. The Mocs also had a strong season on defense, with center back Alyssa Abrahamsen becoming only the second player in team history to earn First Team All-SSC honors two years in a row, while also making the NSCAA All-South Region Team for the second straight season. Goalkeeper Erin Moseley led the SSC in saves, and in 11 of their 20 games, the Mocs allowed either no goals or one goal while playing nine games against the top-25 scoring teams in the country. A further look at the numbers showed the Mocs held those teams almost a full goal below their season scoring average, and on offense, Florida Southern’s scoring output more than doubled over the second half of the season (seven goals in the first 10 games, 16 in the final 10 games).
In her first season at Florida Southern as the only first-year head coach in the Sunshine State Conference, Jones guided the Moccasins to a 6-8-4 overall record and a 3-3-2 mark in the SSC. Their schedule included a conference-high eight games against teams that qualified for the NCAA Division II Tournament, nine games against teams that reached double-digit wins (second only to Rollins), five against teams that were nationally ranked at the time they played, and two others against teams that finished in the top-25, including 2012 national champion West Florida. Their combined regular season opponents’ winning percentage of .594 was not only the highest in the SSC, it was the highest of any team in the South Region.
Even against that type of schedule, Jones had Florida Southern in contention for a bid to the NCAA Tournament all the way to the end of her rookie season as a head coach. After coming in at #6 in the first NCAA regional rankings in mid-October, the Moccasins ended up just one win shy of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.
Jones’ career at Florida Southern began with a rugged 2-week stretch that saw the Moccasins play three of their first four games against NCAA qualifiers, capped by a date with West Florida in Pensacola. The Mocs held their own in all of them before giving Jones her first victory with a 1-0 non-conference win at Nova Southeastern on September 12. That was the beginning of an 11-game stretch that saw the Mocs go 6-3-2, allow just eight goals, and secure third place in the conference with a first-round home game in the SSC Tournament. They advanced to the tournament semi-finals by defeating Lynn in penalty kicks, the first time in five tries the Moccasins won such a postseason tie-breaker.
Under Jones, the Mocs continued to play their usual tenacious defense, posting a 1.16 goals against average that fell just short of the team record, and in 13 of their 18 games, they allowed either no goals or one goal. That number equaled another team record set in 2008, when the Moccasins played two additional games. They accomplished all of their defensive numbers with two freshmen playing key roles in the back, as well as a first-year starting goalkeeper. At the end of the season, four Moccasins were honored as All-Sunshine State Conference selections, the second most in team history, and all of them made it for the first time in their careers, including First Team selection Alyssa Abrahamsen, who went on to make First Team All-South Region.
Off the field, the Moccasins have been extremely active in the community, with regular involvement in the Special Olympics as well as local youth clinics. They’ve been strong performers in the classroom too with 62 selections to the SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll in Jones’ three years as coach, including 26 last year. Those 26 honorees represented 87 percent of the roster with a 3.20 GPA or better, and eight of them had a perfect 4.00 for the fall semester. Among that number was senior midfielder Jackie Metz, who went on to become just the second Academic All-American in the program’s 17-year history. That group will also allow Florida Southern to earn the NSCAA Team Academic Award in 2015, their third straight year with that recognition.
Prior to her arrival at Florida Southern, Jones served five years (2007-11) as assistant coach under Julie Orlowski at Stetson University, where she also played from 2003-06. A four-year starting defender for the Hatters, Jones was a First Team All-Atlantic Sun Conference pick as a senior, an ASC All-Tournament selection as a junior, and four-time member of the All-ASC Academic Team. Over those four years, the Hatters recorded 32 shutouts, and had two seasons with a goals against average under 1.00. She was also selected to Stetson’s 20th Anniversary Team in August of 2012, earning her a spot among the all-time greatest players to ever wear a Stetson uniform.
During her senior year, Jones led the Stetson defense to a record-setting season that included a 0.93 goals against average and 10 shutouts. The Hatters went 12-8-1, tying another school record for wins, and finished second in the Atlantic Sun Conference with a 7-1-1 mark. Seven of their 10 shutouts came in conference play where the Hatters surrendered just three goals, and the season ended with Stetson’s first ever appearance in the ASC Championship Game. Jones scored her only goal that year in a match at 3rd-ranked Florida State, giving the Hatters an early lead, though the Seminoles came back for a 2-1 win. As a junior, she tied for the team lead in assists, and helped the Hatters post five shutouts in their last six games, setting the stage for her remarkable senior year in 2006.
Originally from Apopka, Florida, Jones graduated magna cum laude in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitative studies, and was chosen as the Outstanding Senior for Stetson’s Department of Integrative Health Sciences. She also earned her master’s degree from Stetson in business administration, and is also strength and conditioning certified (PES).
In addition to her coaching duties at Florida Southern, Jones is a staff member for the Florida Olympic Development Program, working with the Florida Youth Soccer Association, holds a USSF National “B” coaching license, and an NSCAA National Diploma.
updated May 28, 2015