JJ Jansons was a key member of the Plainwell boys’ soccer team that won a state championship. (Photo provided)

Where Are They Now: Plainwell’s JJ Jansons

Leo Martonosi, Sports Correspondent

Jonathan Jansons was a multi-sports athlete at Plainwell.

“JJ was an excellent athlete. He competed in soccer, basketball and track at Plainwell,” said longtime Allegan County News senior sports correspondent Walt Kaechele, who, along with his wife Cheryl, owned the award-winning weekly newspaper for many years.

Jansons, who graduated from Plainwell High School in 2001, was not only an excellent athlete but also a student who excelled in the classroom as well.

The one-time Trojans standout athlete earned eight varsity letters. Four of them came in maybe his best overall sport, soccer.

“I loved soccer but I also loved basketball,” Jansons said.

Despite competing in three time-consuming sports, Jansons maintained a 3.9 grade point average at Plainwell.

“Several people mentioned to me I led by example and always gave 110 percent effort in everything I did,” Jansons said. “They said I never took a game off.”

As a senior, Jansons led the Plainwell soccer team to a state championship.

“Winning state was definitely one of my school highlights,” Jansons said.

With Jansons leading the way, the Trojans finished their remarkable season with a 21-2-3 overall record. Jansons was regarded as one of west Michigan’s best defensive players.

“I was our team’s defensive sweeper,” Jansons recalled.

Plainwell allowed only  four goals in seven state tournament games. The Trojans shut out their last three opponents.

“We had a great team,” Jansons said

Jansons was named to the statewide Dream Team in soccer, an honor given to only 11 players each year drawing on players from every school in the entire state.

“That was the first time in history a PHS student was awarded this honor,” said the proud Jansons. “As a defender, this is an exceptional honor to earn as there are no individual defensive statistics.”

Jonathan, better known as JJ, was also the soccer team captain for two years and received numerous all-conference, all-county, all-regional and all-state honors.

Jansons was also a two-time varsity basketball captain, earning all conference first team honors during his junior and senior years.

“Our 2001 team won 15 games in a row despite not having a true home court,” Jansons said.

There was a big reason for that.

“Our Plainwell gymnasium was being rebuilt back then,” Jansons said.

Jansons’ basketball offensive statistics were always at the top of the team and, as in soccer, he was widely acknowledged as one of the best defenders in the Wolverine Conference.

Jansons went on to be a four-year starter on the Kalamazoo College soccer team, where he received MIAA all conference team honors all four years including first team laurels his final three collegiate seasons. He also copped MVP honors as a junior and senior.

Jansons shared his soccer knowledge as an assistant coach for two seasons at Berkley High School near Detroit.

“We had a 15-4 record in 2010 which was the second-best record in school history,” Jansons proudly pointed out.

Jansons, 34, who graduated from Michigan State University with a master’s degree in 2012, is currently working in Belleville in supply chain management.

Contact Leo Martonosi at leomartonosi@gmail.com.

Editor’s note: This is the final of a summer series featuring former Allegan County standout athletes and coaches.




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