By David Bayer
When I was a kid (a thousand years ago), my first favorite athlete was Cookie Rojas. I’d be willing to bet that 99.9 percent of you have never heard of Cookie. Cookie was a second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies. I can’t remember why I chose him. If you look him up, you’ll see that he was far from the coolest looking guy. He had a decent career, but his statistics weren’t stellar and the team he played on was pretty terrible. Nonetheless, he was my guy.
Soccer players, like baseball players or any athletes, are much more than numbers, especially to kids. Kids don’t care how many goals a player has scored, how many “caps” they have or how many different “U” teams they’ve been on. They want to connect personally somehow, whether it be a uniform number, hometown, etc.
Emma, my 4 ½ year old daughter, and I are embarking on a journey to explore the many layers of some of the extraordinary WPS women. We will go beyond the stats and try to find out who the players really are.
Our first interview was set to take place immediately following the Atlanta/Boston season opener. Our interviewee, Jordan Angeli, scored an early goal, but later left the game with what looked to be an excruciating leg injury. She spent the rest of the game on the bench. At the game’s conclusion, Emma and I waited on the field, not knowing if we’d speak with Jordan, or maybe another Boston player. Jordan gingerly made her way off the field on crutches, her leg wrapped, and a huge ice pack on her knee. When she reached us, she stopped, smiled, greeted both of us and said she wanted to go ahead with the interview. Out of respect for her injury, I cut our questions a bit short. Here’s our report:
Jordan Angeli – Midfielder – Boston Breakers
Birthdate : May 31, 1986
Hometown: Englewood, Colorado
Nicknames: “Jordy,” “Jordo” (anything short for Jordan) “Bird” (by her parents for her “little bird legs growing up”)
Age she started soccer: 5
College degree: Marketing (Santa Clara University)
Why she wears #4: It was the number she wore growing up during her club days.
Favorite pregame foods : Peanut butter and bananas (protein and fruit)
Workout music: Radio pop with a good beat (Justin Bieber lately)
Superstitions: None – “Just tie my shoes and have fun.”
Favorite Cartoon Character – Tweety Bird
Favorite TV Show: Glee
Favorite charity or cause: “I like working with kids. I’ve been to the Boys & Girls clubs a couple of times, and the Children’s Hospital, talking to kids and connecting with them and brightening up their day. We’re pretty lucky doing what we do, just to spread our joy to someone else is a great thing.”
A follow-up … Jordan’s injury did turn out to be a very serious one, a season-ending ACL injury. I have no doubt that when she spoke to us, she realized the possible severity. But she still took the time, put a smile on her face, and asked Emma about her soccer interests.
As I mentioned above, we wanted to explore the many layers of the extraordinary WPS women. I think we reached a layer that I didn’t expect we would encounter. It was very refreshing, and I feel privileged that Emma was able to meet Jordan. I can see why Boston coach Tony DiCicco described her as a natural leader and an inspiration in the community.
Please join me in wishing her a speedy recovery.