Our next Alumni Corner featured player is ECNL Alumni, Jordan Holt. Huge thanks to ECNL for their partnership in Alumni Corner, and to Jordan for sharing her story.
Jordan grew up in the Sacramento area. When she was young, she set a goal of playing college soccer. (Spoiler alert: She did it!) This week, she takes us through her younger soccer years…
Take it away, Jordan:
I started out like most of us do, more concerned with picking daisies and eating Rice Krispy treats after the 20-minute games. At such young age, a quality that separated me from the rest of the tots was my level of competitiveness. I loved all things sports all the time. I really just needed a ball to chase. To this day my mom says “my tail wags” any time I see a soccer ball. Keep in mind I’m now 22… An occupational hazard that I will never apologize for.
Growing the Dream
I grew up in a very competitive soccer town. At the time, soccer clubs in Sacramento were popping up faster than wildfires in the summer months. I knew soccer was my calling by the time I was 8 years old. I just couldn’t live without it, which was weird at the time because I really wasn’t good. I played on “B” teams until I was 12, but one day I hopped in my dad’s truck after practice and told him I wanted to play soccer in college.
“That’s a great goal, Jojo,” he replied. “You’ll have to work incredibly hard, but you can do it.”
It’s one of those vivid memories I will always cherish. When I think of the Mia Hamm quote so many of us hold dearly, that’s the little girl I reflect on. She’s who I push through for on the tough days.
“Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her.”- Mia Hamm
I had one coach who made me realize I could truly be great. I was quite soft in my early years. Maybe I watched too much men’s soccer? This coach helped me discover myself as an impact player and leader. Once I believed in me, there was no looking back.
My parents were amazingly supportive throughout my soccer journey. They praised me when I earned it and talked me through the rough patches of play, no matter how difficult the discussions were. They helped build me up in the best of ways. I have to shout out my younger brother and sister, too. A girl couldn’t ask for a better cheering section or training partners. My family members were the only ones who knew just how much my soccer dreams meant to me.
When I was 13 years-old we decided I would make the daring switch from my club to the cross town rivals at San Juan Soccer Club because they were a newly named ECNL member. I was skeptical to leave my comfort zone but Mom and Dad reminded me that fear was essential to progress. I realized most of the journey would be far outside my comfort zone, and I had to be willing to overcome the daunting challenges between me and my dreams.
San Juan ECNL became my home for the next five years. ECNL Showcases around the country became my playground and platform. My San Juan teammates became my family, and all the coaches I had the privilege of learning from became lifelong role models. Throughout these amazing years my most prominent areas of growth were in confidence and leadership. Skill, technique and soccer IQ came with time and dedication, but it was the mental and emotional development that has taken me far beyond the field.
Week 2 coming soon — stay tuned!
all photos courtesy of ECNL and Jordan Holt — thank you!