Greater Sudbury Soccer Club
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Music becomes the medium that allows soccer scholarship to become a reality
2021-05-26
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For as many years as he can remember, soccer has consumed the life of Jack Jordan - for good reason.

An ultra-talented defender/midfielder, the grade 12 student at St Charles College has drawn provincial level attention and competed with top-end youth formations from GTA and area, the mecca of soccer when it comes to Ontario.

The pandemic, of course, has eliminated a large majority of those opportunities that Jordan would enjoy in his sport of choice, with game play and group practices almost non-existent.

Thankfully, he had something to turn to. In fact, to some extent, his side passion for music quite likely played a part in opening yet another door on the soccer pitch for the 6’2 ½” eighteen year-old.

Jordan has accepted a full scholarship ride to attend Holy Family University, just north of Philadelphia, commencing his career with the NCAA Division II school this fall. Where perhaps post-secondary soccer, south of the border, was all but a given 18 months ago, much has changed since March of 2020.

“With going down to Toronto for all these years, playing for one of the top teams in Vaughan SC, I had really high hopes for the summer of 2020,” said Jordan. “With all of the travel that we had planned, things were looking good for scholarship opportunities.”

But where some might sit around and fret over the hand they were dealt, beaten down by opportunities that had disappeared, Jordan engaged in a different approach.

“When everything stopped, I actually turned to music as a way to cope with everything that I was going through,” he said. “Was I still going to have opportunities or was this going to shut down everything? Music became a coping mechanism.”

That said, it wasn’t as though an interest in music, for the Jordan family, is the least bit unusual.

“I’ve always been a lover of music,” suggested Jack. “My dad and my brother are musicians. I’m a musician, both on my computer and playing a couple of instruments, as well as just listening to all sorts of music from all over the world. I got into sort of musical producing and hip-hop, stuff like that.”

“It really helped.”

Of course, it wasn’t as though soccer had disappeared completely for Jordan. “Being in Sudbury, I focused a lot on the Zoom calls with my team,” he said. “It was not only a good thing from a physical standpoint, but it was nice to talk to my teammates, to have that mental relief through the workouts.”

Thankfully, from a physical standpoint, there is something to be said for the hundreds of games and practices that Jordan has experienced since the age of four. “I’ve developed some muscle memory for the touches, the things I can do on the ball,” he said.

“I wasn’t really too scared of losing that fundamental aspect of my game.”

Still, there was little to no doubt that the standard recruiting process that many prospects in prior years had experienced simply was not going to apply to Jordan and the class of 2021. “When things started locking down and I was looking for advice, I turned to Graham Kennedy, who I used to live with,” said the northern lad.

“I played soccer with his son, used to live with them. He’s an amazing person, very educated in the soccer world and really just wants the best for the kids. He would tell me there’s always opportunities; there will always be something that comes up next.”

And that it did.

With geographic preferences (closer to one of the coast lines), school size (“looking for a decent sized school, not super small”), potential playing time (likely greater in a Division II context than with a Division I team) and scholarship finances all key components of the discussion, Jordan would find his way to a team that competes in the Central Atlantic Conference and is a close ride away for some family located in Ocean City, New Jersey.

“I was looking at UC Davis in California, but that is a long way from home,” he said. “And I didn’t see myself going the route of a junior college.”

While the key contributor to a St Charles College Cardinals team that captured a SDSSAA banner in 2019 (while he was only in grade 10) has patrolled the pitch at both center back and in the midfield for different teams, it is likely in the former that he will find himself slotted when the Tigers gather for training camp in August.

“I’m a tall guy, sort of the ideal size for a center back,” said Jordan. “But based on my development, I had really learned about footwork, more like a midfield role. I was tall, big and strong, a good defender - but then I had kind of this secret weapon that I could play midfield as well, because I had the skill set with the small little technical touches and the footwork that a lot of people don’t expect when they see a big guy like me.”

Preparing to enter the Sports Management program at Holy Family, Jordan is keeping music as a back-up plan as he looks to combine fitness and financial practicality this summer. “My number one priority (for the summer) is working,” he said, helping out with the family business of property management. “It’s physically enticing, since it helps me get in shape, even when I am not on the field.”

“And it also makes me a little bit of money, which will allow me to head down and not worry about my finances.”

Jordan has visited Philadelphia before, as part of a U.S. tour with the Winstars Soccer Academy, even taking in some NCAA soccer action while he was there. “The Canadian soccer is much different than American soccer,” he noted. “There’s a heavy European influence on the Canadian game, where it’s more of technical soccer with possession.”

“NCAA games seem to rely more on physicality and strength.”

Regardless of the style, Jordan is thankful for the chance to pursue what he sees as his purpose. “I know what I want to do, and I know that it will make me happy,” he said. “I focused on that and tried to block out the roadblocks.”

More than anything, he’s hopeful that others will do the same.

“I encourage other people to find another hobby that they can do, during the pandemic, so that they’re not just down in the ditches and can still strive for what they want to do.”

In other words, find their music.

Greater Sudbury Soccer Club