Jordan McCrary always knew pro soccer would succeed in Atlanta.
As a boy who grew up in Marietta – 20 miles north of downtown Atlanta – he was one of thousands of who kids who played soccer, but didn’t have a local club to support. This weekend, the 24-year-old defender returns home – this time as an enemy.
“[It’s] my first time to play against Atlanta since they’ve been in the league, so I am excited,” McCrary told media on Thursday after training.
McCrary signed with the Sounders after a successful preseason trial, althugh his short pro career hasn’t come easily. After a successful four-year career at the University of North Carolina, McCrary was drafted by the New England Revolution with the No. 10 pick of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, but never cracked the squad. He then spent the 2017 season with Toronto FC II of the USL before joining Seattle for preseason.
“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 of Sounders Weekly on Sports Radio KJR 950 AM in April. “After that, I was going to put my best foot forward and do whatever I could, and then whatever happened, happened.”
After a successful prep career in Georgia and a college career at the University of North Carolina, McCrary was selected with the No. 10 pick of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. | USA Today Sports
Two decades ago, McCrary could be found hanging out at his older brother’s soccer practice. He ended up joining the fun on the field and never looked back. With no local pro team in the Atlanta market, the Gatorade Georgia Boys Soccer Player of the Year signed to play for the Tar Heels.
“I always wished there was a team,” McCrary said. “Now that there is, you can see the fans are bought in, the players are bought in. they’ve just been growing since.”
For a player who was virtually unknown by Sounders fans prior to the season, McCrary has been a bright spot. While defender Kelvin Leerdam has battled injuries all season, McCrary has stepped in admirably at right back with 11 MLS appearances.
He’ll likely factor in this weekend’s homecoming, with the Rave Green visiting Atlanta United FC on Sunday. With an expected crowd of over 70,000 fans – including several of McCrary’s family members and friends – this contest will be a special one for one of Georgia’s own.