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Hart's Jonny Rose: Holding the line

Despite turmoil this year, Hart’s Jonny Rose is trying to keep it all together

Posted: February 5, 2013 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 5, 2013 1:55 a.m.

Hart senior defender Jonny Rose transferred to Hart from Chaminade High last year. In just two years, he's become team captain.

 

The best way to describe how to play the center back position in soccer is to call that player the last line of defense.

It’s in reference to the fact that a player in that spot is often the last defender to beat before an opposing team’s striker can get to the goalkeeper.

Hart center back Jonny Rose has embodied the “last line of defense” label in more ways than one.

On a team that has experienced its fair share of trials this season, Rose has been one of the few, consistently positive pieces to hold it all together for Hart.

“I think he’s a big part of the team because he does help us hold our shape and he does help us with our strength,” says Hart head coach Adonay Jovel of the senior.

Rose quickly started to earn the respect of coaches and teammates prior to the start of this season.

During summer workouts, he and teammate Gabe Robinson were voted team co-captains.

For a player like Robinson, who was a strong defender last year and a Signal All-Santa Clarita Valley second-team selection, the distinction wasn’t a big surprise.

Rose was more of an unknown coming in as a first-year varsity player at Hart.

It wasn’t long before he started impressing his coach.

“(Jovel’s) made that very clear that he wants me as the authoritative figure,” Rose says. “He wants me directing traffic and he wants me letting the younger guys know how it’s done.”

But the season took a negative turn right from the start.

Rose was given even more responsibility when Robinson injured his hamstring before the start of the season. Robinson has missed virtually the entire season due to the injury.

“It was him and I who were named team captains and since I’ve been injured, he kind of stepped up and took the role for that,” Robinson says.

Things got even worse when Hart forward Nico Ferrero, last year’s leading scorer in the Foothill League, was removed from the team for personal reasons.

Hart came into the year as a leading contender to win a league title, but with two games to go in league play, that’s out of the question.

“It’s tough,” Rose says. “You’ve got to move on and try to find new ways to score. Try to find different ways to defend with what players you have. You’ve got to move on.”

That’s not to say this is a disaster for Hart, which is still likely to finish third in the Foothill and earn an automatic playoff berth.

For a team with a large number of underclassmen starting, Rose has provided some stability in the backline as one of the few seniors on the team. He’s capable of being a shut-down defender as he uses his strong, 5-foot-11 frame to wreak havoc on opposing offenses.

Rose also has a powerful throw-in that opens up all kinds of scoring opportunities.

“He brings a lot of speed to the team,” Jovel says. “We didn’t have much speed last year. I think last year we had height. Now we have speed, and I think that’s what (Rose) brings. He doesn’t panic when we give him the ball, which works for us.”

In reality, Jovel knew what kind of player he was getting in Rose all along.

Though Rose was good enough to play varsity last year, he was forced to play junior varsity because he transferred to Hart from Chaminade High School in West Hills.

CIF rules didn’t allow him to play at the varsity level for a year due to the fact that he didn’t change addresses.

Rose and his family has lived in Santa Clarita all along, but he decided to transfer to a hometown high school because he was sick of making the drive to school everyday.

Right around the same time he changed schools, Rose also decided to part ways with his former academy club team at Los Angeles Futbol Club.

It was a big change for Rose, who’s been playing soccer since age 4. Playing at the academy level gives high school aged athletes a better chance to be discovered and recruited by college soccer teams.

At the time, Rose required knee surgery, which factored into his decision to quit the academy.

But Rose says he’s slowly working toward getting back to the level he was at before the surgery and he’s leaning toward accepting an offer to play at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

His choice to leave academy soccer is one he still struggles with, but he says he’s enjoying his last high school season at Hart.

He’s helped make an otherwise tumultuous year for Hart soccer into a positive one.

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