Jammie Jordan brings experience from football to help rebuild a program in disarray.
Jammie Jordan spent his Tuesday morning how he spends most every morning: scheduling games for his team.
Or trying to, anyway. Jordan said some athletics directors are difficult to reach and don't even have contact information on the school website. Not that hiccups like that will stop Jordan from doing the job in front of him.
Jordan was hired as Booker High's new girls soccer coach on June 30. He's now tasked with building a castle out of rubble. The Tornadoes are 2-77-1 over their last six seasons. Jordan was an assistant coach last season. He said he had between 11 and 14 players, at most, each game.
Jordan knows there is work to be done. Through the rough times, though, Jordan sees signs of progress. The team's 10 returning players all joined a local summer league to hone their skills — not at Jordan's behest, but on their own. That showed him that they care, he said. Caring is the first step toward the things Jordan wants to accomplish. In the past, no one cared enough, and it showed.
"We need to change the mindset that has been here the last six years," Jordan said. "The goal now is to take the challenge in front of us and have the discipline to forge through it. Even if we don't have a winning season, are we doing what we need to do to get better?"
Jordan has a lot of sports experience, but a sizable amount comes from football. Jordan played football at Riverview High and was a running backs coach at Gainesville and Southeast high schools. At Southeast, he was also the junior varsity coach. Jordan believes there are things coaches can take from football and apply to soccer, giving him an edge.
"The footwork and the core strength necessary, for sure," Jordan said. "Those things have to be there. You have to have great endurance. You have to work as a team and carry out the strategies you have practiced. You have to make decisions while also being ready to adjust on the fly. If one of our wings doesn't get to a ball fast enough, one of our backers should be there to pick it up and get it to our strikers so we can score."
Despite his extensive football experience, Jordan is not bereft of soccer experience; he oversaw the girls soccer PAL program in Newtown for six seasons and played the sport as a child.
Jordan said playing sports changed his life as a kid. They taught him that things don't just happen in life. If you want the best, you have to work for it.
"I appreciate this opportunity I have," Jordan said. "I will try to prep these young ladies on the field and in life. They are extremely hard-working. [I'm] so proud of each of them."