Jordan Angeli’s road to Women’s Professional Soccer was anything but easy. Angeli spent six years at Santa Clara University on a rollercoaster of highs and lows. Her freshman season ended in the semifinals of the College Cup and was a season that saw her play in 17 games wherever she was needed on the field.
Her sophomore season saw her take on a new role and a new challenge: playing forward. It was a position that she wasn’t familiar playing but did so anyway. She finished the season with a team-high 12 goals on the year.
Angeli’s junior season was delayed by a month as she headed across the Pacific Ocean to Russia where the U-20 World Championship was taking place. Santa Clara was knocked out of the NCAA tournament on November 10, 2006 in the first round following a conference championship win.
The rollercoaster ride would continue into her senior seasons. Her first two attempts at a senior season were cut short before they could even begin, both times ending in the same fate—a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee left the midfielder/defender sitting on the sidelines for the season as she worked her way back into top form.
Angeli would not play another collegiate regular or postseason match until August 21, 2009, the start of her third senior season. She would go on to start every game of the Broncos 2009 season as a central defender and led her team in goals scored (seven) and points (17). She was named the West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
She was drafted in the second round by the Boston Breakers (16th overall), becoming one of two Broncos drafted by the Breakers in the 2010 WPS Draft.
The transition from playing in college to playing in WPS has been difficult, but has given the 25-year-old a wealth of knowledge about the game.
“It’s a tough transition,” she said. “I think that every day it’s very challenging—you’re playing with the best players in the world. I think that the recovery rate—in college you play two games in a weekend—and I think that playing at this higher level it just takes your body a little bit longer to recover from playing against a Marta or a Christine Sinclair.
"It’s been great. I think that the biggest thing has been I’m learning, constantly learning from the players I play against and the players on my team because they have so much knowledge. I think that’s been the coolest part of this whole thing.”
Playing with Boston has given Angeli an opportunity to play with US and international talent alike in US Women’s National team great Kristine Lilly (retired prior to the 2011 season), 2011 World Cup team members Lauren Cheney, Rachel Buehler, Amy LePeilbet, Stephanie Cox and Kelley O’Hara and English National team members Kelly Smith and Alex Scott.
There was one other thing that Angeli was emphatic about when it came to the experience of playing in Boston.
“It’s been amazing, I don’t think I could have had a better place to come into,” Angeli began. “I think the fans here are absolutely amazing and support us so well by coming to our games and they’re so loud. I think we have the best fans in the league. Then just the coaching staff and the teammates I have—every day I go into the locker room and realize how lucky I am to be playing with all these players that I play with. It’s incredible so it’s been awesome.”
Boston’s second season in WPS was a full of ups and downs. After a season opening victory against the Washington Freedom (now known as magicJack), the Breakers went 1-5-4 in the first three months of the season.
Fourth of July weekend would prove to be the turning point in the season as the Breakers got their first victory since April 10.
“Honestly, we just found the back of the net,” Angeli said of the difference between the first and second halves of the season. “I would say, Leslie was out a few games and when she came back into the lineup we had a little bit more bite to us.
"I think that we were just a little bit more gritty, we came together more as a team and committed to working hard on defense and creating opportunities through our good defensive work. So I’d have to give Leslie a lot of credit for coming back so strong from her injury that she had in June and helping lead us.
"I think everyone on the team stepped up—if they were on the field or if they weren’t on the field—I think that we had a great sense of team and we committed to our game plan each and every game. So I think that’s really been working for us.”
Angeli went on her own tear, scoring seven goals on the season, six of which came in the second half of the season. She held the best goal scoring percentage in the league scoring seven goals on just 14 shots on goal.
“I think it’s just figuring out a way to get the ball in the back of the net throughout my career,” she said. “I wouldn’t say that I’m a consistent goal scorer but I definitely have had years where I score a lot of goals. My sophomore year in college I think I had 12 goals or something so it just depends on the year. I just try to work hard to get myself in good spots and hope to get a foot on something.”
She would also be the first true rookie to be named Player of the Month (July). It was a deserved honor for the holding midfielder who scored four goals, two of which proved to be game winners and helped the Breakers to a 5-1-0 record in July.
“Honestly, I was really proud of myself,” the Colorado native explained. “I’ve been through a lot in the past few years to overcome a couple of tough injuries and I think that just to be given the opportunity to be on the field and show what I can do I was very thankful for Tony and the coaches staff for that. I cried, I was so excited, and called my parents right away when I found out. It was a cool experience. So I was pretty taken aback.”
Coming into the 2011 season, Angeli was looking to pick up right where she left off. She earned two call-ups to the US Women’s National team for camps in January and February as a result of her play in WPS in 2010.
Angeli’s 2011 season ended less than a half hour into the season opener versus the Atlanta Beat when she suffered a torn ACL in her left knee (yes, for a third time).
In the week following her injury she tweeted, “been a tough week for me. thx 2 everyone for their support and kind words. all ur thoughts + prayers are very appreciated n have helped me”
It is likely that she would have continued to get a look by United States head coach Pia Sundhage ahead of this summer’s Women’s World Cup. The roster for training camp was named just days after the Breakers announced her injury.
Best wishes to Jordan with her recovery—we all look forward to seeing you back on the field soon! Tweet @jordangeli to send Jordan a get well/speedy recovery message.
All photos courtesy of Louis Walker/DSPics.com.
Lauren Green is a Correspondent for Bleacher Report covering WPS and the US Women's National team. All quotes were obtained first-hand
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