Reflecting on 62: Seeking Growth

I'm now 31.5 (yes I added a 1/2 on there because who says that after age 10? I want to change that. It makes people laugh or look at you funny, either way it's fun. I digress...) and maybe I really am getting old(er) because I seem to find myself cracking the old joke "Time fly's, I can't believe we are already in December" line I distinctly remember my grandparents and parents saying when I was younger.

But it's true - and this year seemed to fly by quicker then I could of imagined.


62 games called from March to November.

  • 20 NWSL
  • 18 MLS
  • 4 USL
  • 1 Open Cup
  • 4 SEC/ESPN
  • 5 PAC12
  • 11 WAC
62 times 90 minute games was (let me pull up my calculator...) 5580 minutes of soccer. Plus, I got to tap into every aspect of the sport as a host, analyst, PxP and reporter.

That is a lot of opportunities for growth.

A lot of failure - falling down and trying again - but a lot of growth. 

Something I know all too well.

Made me think, how did I end up here? Doing something again that I love so much. So, here's what I found upon reflecting on my path to this point...

After my 3rd ACL injury, I went through a really tough time. Soccer immediately prior to that injury was dream like...I was on the top of my game, leading rookie goal scorer in the league, attending USWNT camps regularly, and then the rug was pulled out from underneath me.

There were so many months that I just fought through. Not knowing what was next, not knowing who I was at times.

Once I got over the pain and anger I felt directly from the game (really because I thought it had wronged me), I started to realize what aspect of my recovery process I had been missing all along.

I was watching and analyzing games all the time.

As a captain at Santa Clara, I felt responsible and a desire to lead. So even though I couldn't step one boot onto the field of two seasons in a row, I could still positively affect the team in multiple ways.

I remember watching the team and players play with intensity and focus (somethings you just can't turn off) as they competed. Asking my teammates if I could track something for them, or  pull them close at halftime to talk about something I had noticed. My brain was always thinking soccer, even when my body was on pause from playing.

Fall. Grow.

Not only that, but the growth came even before that. As a youth player I was always watching and critiquing. Again, I didn't realize it at the time, but my soccer analysis began at a young age.

Not only that, but the growth came even before that. As a youth player I was always watching and critiquing. I found myself trying to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of both my team and myself in order to improve and therefore help my team win. 

These skills were accumulated by sitting on the bench the majority of my first 3 years of competitive soccer. Through watching the game and my team from a different perspective, I realized we didn't have an outside player who was left footed. When my coach tried to cut me that season, I worked my analyst side and convinced him to give me the summer to get better at my left foot because he couldn't cut me if he needed a left footed player. If I wasn't good enough to be the leftie he needed after those few months, then he could cut me. 

I never got cut and became that outside left footed player. (Get knocked down, stand back up.) 

Me staying on the team was made possible by a lot of hard work but also through awareness. I would listen to what the coaches said to every player. If I knew what they said to the forward, the midfielder and the defender, then maybe my chances of succeeding would increase.

I recall coaches asking me:

"Hey Jordan, how do you feel about playing outside back? Center forward? Left midfielder? "

My response was typically 2 fold:

"I think I can do it."

"What do I need to know going into this game to focus on?"

The only position I still say no to is keeper - and my youth players will tell you why!

Being inside the white lines of the pitch was my goal. I knew if I got there, I had a better opportunity to help my team win. Therefore, I could improve. I played every position throughout my career at length and with passion and focus.

photo: Hannah Jorich

Attitude determines your trajectory in life.

These moments that seemed difficult at the time, have proved crucial to me in the way I adapt in times of trial and embrace opportunity. Even though I didn't realize it at the time, my love of the game and my desire to get on the field, compete and contribute to my team's success, was developing the foundation of analyzing the game.

Now back to 2017...

When presented an opportunity to call games as a play-by-play this year, my reaction was nearly identical to the one I had as a young kid. Engrained into my brain - belief, intention and improvement.

My first game as a play-by-play to say I was nervous is an understatement.

Not only was it my first PxP game, but my partner was on her 2nd game as an analyst. I remember feeling thankful to get to halftime and Morgan, the analyst, saying, "It went ok. Maybe hold some of the storylines off a little longer next time."

She was so right. I had blown through the majority of our info from our talks with the coaches in the first 15 minutes. But those words, that constructive criticism is something I will always be thankful for. (P.S. Morgan, thanks for your patience and sorry my nervousness was so radiant!)

Trip. Try again.

Fast foward 8 months...

I seized the opportunity and asked the Western Athletic Conference if I could call their Men's championship as a PxP. After working with them for the last 4 years now, they have been so vital and helpful in my growth so I figured it was worth the shot. (Thank you WAC for having faith in me)

Not only did they allow me to do it, but because of the strength of the conference, I got to call two Top 25

 men's programs in 6 games over 5 days.

It was in Vegas this fall that a breakthrough happened.

Just like in soccer, when you move positions or leagues it takes a while for you to catch up to the game. You over-think and analyze and then, in one moment, it just clicks...the game slows down and you are able to see more and perform better. I felt this moment during the tournament.

Preparation and performance met up - just like a well timed run met but the right textured pass resulting in an awesome goal.

I found the sweet spot.

My PxP and analyst work is just that - work in progress. But, I left that weekend with a smile and actual realization that I can and will do this.

In 62 games you learn a lot - like I learned I stutter when I am searching for what to say next. Things
like that, where you don't realize you are doing them until you watch film back (just like when I use to play). You also learn what it's like to feel like you are on your path. The ups and downs, the trials and triumphs, the falls and the rises, all are worth it. Every plane ride, every penny you put into it, adds up to a gratitude for pursuing one of my life's passions.

How blessed am I? To have already lived one of my dreams and now pursing another. To learn so much from that path I was chosen to go down and to implement it on this new career path.

I feel part of my development is listening and watching to those that are or have gone down a similar path as mine. This led me to a podcast the other day- "That's What She Said" with Sarah Spain. She had guest Louis Riddick on this particular podcast episode (click the picture to get the episode).

Now I don't know Riddick from Adam, but what I do know is he knows what he is talking about. He puts in the work and his informed voice about the NFL on ESPN.

Here is a guy that played in the league and is now still in his sport in a different way. Never made it to a pro bowl, possibly under looked as a player but loves the game and believes in his ability to do whatever is presented to him next.

His words in the podcast hit home to me:

"I knew that in TV there were plenty of guys who got crazy opportunities and got put on the biggest shows simply because what they did in their playing career. And it happens to this day and in a large degree it probably will always be that way. I didn't care. I wasn't disrespectful. I mean a lot of these guys were guys who I had played against and respected the heck out of them as far as what they did on the football field. But I was like this, we're not playing anymore. We're not running a 40 anymore. I'm not trying to defend you as a safety, tackle you as a running back or competing against you for playing time as a fellow defensive back. Now it is about how good are you at taking what you know and telling people who are watching on TV in a way that they say 'I want to hear more of this guy. I want to hear more of this guy. Give me more of what he is telling me.' What I did was I didn't try to one up anybody, I wasn't disrespectful, but I knew this. When we were on, if you didn't prepare like I was going to prepare, then it was going to show. And I didn't care. I wasn't trying to dumb anything down, I wasn't going to gloss anything over and I wasn't going to try and be anything that I'm not. I just went 1000 miles per hour with that approach and so far so good."

"Yeah because I think there is this idea of respecting a lot of guys for what they did before but his is a whole new game. A whole new career. And they don't get to be better or beat you because what they did in that last career."

The number of conversations I have with people about:
how my career didn't end up the way it should of....
That it was all the fault of my knee...
If only I could of stayed healthy I would of had a brilliant career.

And although I am flattered by those conversations, I am starting to believe that isn't the case.

My career was beautiful. 
Filled with laughter and friendship,
failure and success, 
painful tears and joyful ones too. 
It was exactly what it was suppose to be. 
And maybe, just maybe, it had to be this way.

If I never knew injury, would I never get to explore my love for broadcasting.

If I never knew injury, maybe I would just be presented opportunities like Riddick mentioned above because I was good at my last career.

Then I wouldn't of had to start on a 3 person broadcasting team calling high school girls soccer games in -10ยบ temps in Colorado to learn how much I loved doing this.

Then I would of missed the work. The prep. The approach. The climb. The sitting on the bench and evaluating my progress. The asking how I could be better.

The process of going from there 6 years ago to calling 62 games in one year across the best leagues in the US for women and men has been a wonderful start.

I am far from where I think I can be, but my belief in myself, in always rising again, and where this journey can take me has never been stronger.

Thank you 2017 for the growth and lessons. I am eager to see what 2018 has in store.

photo: Hanna Jorich


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