After three years of searching, Jordan McCrary finally found his way into a Major League Soccer match last weekend.
The circumstances weren’t exactly ideal — he entered as a halftime substitute to replace Kelvin Leerdam, who was ejected in the 40th minute of the Sounders’ 1-0 loss to the Montreal Impact — but McCrary would take any chance he got, a microcosm of his journey to the Seattle Sounders in the first place.
McCrary, 24, appeared in 76 matches for the University of North Carolina before graduating in 2015. He was selected by the New England Revolution with the No. 10 pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, but things didn’t go as planned in Foxborough, though. He made two U.S. Open Cup appearances, but never featured in an MLS game.
McCrary signed with Toronto FC II in the United Soccer League in 2017, making 27 appearances before parting ways at the conclusion of last season. He was out of a contract and eager to find a new home. His agent got in touch with Sounders General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey, who called McCrary and invited him to preseason camp with the opportunity to compete for a spot.
“The expectation was that I was going to get a shot, and that’s all I really wanted at the end of the day was a chance,” McCrary told Jackson Felts on the latest edition of Sounders Weekly on Sports Radio KJR 950 AM. “After that, I was going to put my best foot forward and do whatever I could, and then whatever happened, happened.”
McCrary fights for possession with Montreal’s Daniel Lovitz | Mike Fiechtner
On Feb. 13, the Sounders signed McCrary to a First Team contract after trading Oniel Fisher to D.C. United not long prior. It was assumed that McCrary would back up Dutch fullback Leerdam, who the Sounders signed using Targeted Allocation Money last summer, but when Leerdam went down with an ankle injury before the season started, McCrary suddenly found himself in the starting lineup in crucial CONCACAF Champions League matches.
McCrary started all four CCL games before finally getting his MLS opportunity last weekend. He’s committed to improving and has been a valuable asset for Head Coach Brian Schmetzer & Co. so far in this young season.
“There’s no real set number of what I want to hit, whether it’s assists, goals or starts,” McCrary said. “It’s just trying to be better the next day. How can I be better than the last one? Hopefully that will just take me to where I want to be at the end, which is one of the top players.
“I flew out and got after it in the preseason. Since then, the dream continues.”