Jordan Schweitzer is a soccer junkie. His passion for the game shines brightly in conversation and if the topic isn’t soccer, his mind will wander toward the pitch.
The 18-year-old Jackson High School senior also counts himself among the most fervent Sounders FC fans and would gladly stand amongst the Emerald City Supporters and vigorously bellow that support for 90 minutes.
There is only one thing he’d rather do on match day.
Suit up in the Rave Green.
He doesn’t quite get to do that at CenturyLink Field yet, but Schweitzer is honored now to wear the badge of the Sounders for the U18 team. And with that, he gets to be even closer to the game.
“The best part of my day is going to training. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, but I’m a soccer junkie. I like playing the game, watching the game, talking about the game,” he said. “You can see in the community how much the excitement has changed. People always want to talk about the game and they’re so excited to talk about the Sounders. It’s really cool to see.”
Schweitzer sat with his family, who are season-ticket holders, in the 2009 season, but now sits on the sideline with the Sounders FC Academy teams. And while some may relish the opportunity to look out and see 39,000 fans cheering, Schweitzer’s attention is fixed on Osvaldo Alonso and the rest of the midfield.
He has trained with the Sounders FC first team on occasion during his two seasons in the Academy system and has seen tremendous growth in his game because of that experience.
“He’s improved more as a soccer player than anybody in our Academy over the last two years,” Sounders FC director of youth development Darren Sawatzky said. “He’s added more bite to the defensive part of his game and his impact on games has now gone up. When we need somebody on our team to step up and lead, he’s the guy to do it. He’s getting better in every piece of the game and we’re excited to see him develop in college.”
His experience isn’t limited to just training sessions with the first team though. He has also suited up in Reserve League games, even getting onto the field against the Portland Timbers in a 2-0 defeat at Starfire on April 10.
He entered the match in the final minutes, but still was able to make his impression on the game, rocketing a shot from the top of the box and missing just over the crossbar.
“It was such a surreal moment. I just wanted to keep the ball and press,” Schweitzer assessed before showing that he bleeds Rave Green. “I hate losing to Portland. To lose to Vancouver and Portland was tough, but getting in against Portland was definitely a highlight.”
Last year, he had six goals in 29 appearances for the U16 team that finished atop the Northwest Division and had an 18-3-4 record for the season. This year, he has six goals in 22 matches for the U18 team that went 9-13-4 overall but was third in the Northwest Division at 7-6-1 and still has the USSDA Academy Showcase later this month to build on that.
In the meantime, he will continue to train and watch the Sounders, learning bit-by-bit along the way.
“To look at those guys is really helpful for someone who’s trying to make it to the next level,” said Schweitzer, who will play for the University of Denver in the fall. “It makes you that much more determined to get those opportunities. You want to take over and dominate at the U18 level so you can get back there.”
While his experiences with the first team helped him on the field, another memory that will stay with him is of the ECS making their way out to support the Academy teams.
Before home games, he looks to the stands and sees a bit of himself in each of the supporters banging the drums and singing for the players on the field.
“For an Academy player to see them out there is awesome,” Schweitzer said. “But if I wasn’t where I am now, I’d definitely be right in the thick of it.”