Jane Jordan, a 2017 Palm Desert grad and freshman on the UC-Riverside women’s soccer team, entered her team’s game Friday against UC Santa Barbara early in the second half.
Three seconds later she scored her first collegiate goal. Jordan was on the receiving end of a nice corner kick, used her height advantage and jumping ability to get her head on it, and had just the right touch and loft to place it over the goalie’s hand in the upper-left corner of the goal.
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“Honestly, I knew if I was going to score this year it would probably be off a play like that,” said Jordan, the 5-foot-10 defensive specialist. “It felt great. Being able to win headers in the box at the college level, I mean, that’s pretty cool.”
Jordan has played in five of the team’s 14 games this year and started once. Her playing time has increased in recent weeks as Big West Conference play has begun. The Highlanders are 5-7-2 overall, but are now 2-0 in league play so far after winning the game in which Jordan scored 4-1, and following it up with a 1-0 win over Cal Poly.
Jane Jordan (No. 11) warms up with her UC Riverside women’s soccer squad. (Photo: Doug Brown/Courtesy of UC Riverside)
She said she was getting over a nagging injury early in the year and now feels healthy and happy that the coaches are noticing her value to the team.
“That’s just hard work and getting better every day,” she said. “I’m just trying to fight for my spot out there.”
Jordan is enjoying college life in general, but she admits it’s taking some getting used to. Her classes just started — schools in the UC system don’t begin classes until October — so that hasn’t been too different from high school, but it’s the autonomy of being an adult that’s strange.
Jane Jordan finds the ball in the midfield. The La Quinta Blackhawks girls soccer team won Monday’s home conference game against rival school Palm Desert by a score of 4-0. (Photo: Brandon Magpantay/Special to The Desert Sun)
“The difference is just being able to know how to spend your time,” she said. “You don’t have your mom telling you you have to be here at this time and then there at that time. You go back to your dorm, and you decide those things. I still catch myself calling my mom, ‘Hey, I might be out a little late’ or ‘Hey, I’m going to dinner’ or ‘I’m going to class.’ It’s kind of funny.”
She said she’s a big fan of her coaches and teammates, so she’s loving her soccer life. Of course, the competition is much tougher than high school and everyone on both her team and the opposing team are ultra competitive.
In other words, Jordan fits right in.
“I love it. Everyone has the same goal as you, everyone is fighting for that spot, that playing time,” she said. “It’s competitive, and we’re all meshing really well together. It’s been great.”
Shad Powers is sports columnist at The Desert Sun. Reach him at (760) 778-4627 or firstname.lastname@example.org.