WAYNE, Pa. – Considering Philadelphia Union midfielder Brian Carroll has made the playoffs all nine years he’s been in MLS and is judged by some to be one of the league’s most underrated players, some fans might joke they’d want a team full of Carroll clones.
Well, they have at least one.
Meet Union rookie Greg Jordan (above, right), who bears a striking resemblance to Carroll (above, left) in the way he looks, talks and even plays.
“Peter [Nowak] mentioned to me on the first day [of training camp], ‘You have a protégé over there,‘“ Carroll told MLSsoccer.com recently with a laugh. “He said, ‘The guy with the blonde hair – he looks just like you!’ And I said, ‘Oh OK, I’ll have to go talk to him and meet him and see if I can take him under my wing.‘“
For Jordan, who was selected by Philly in the second round of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, there’s perhaps no better person to follow in the footsteps of than Carroll, a talented defensive midfielder and consummate professional.
The two players hadn’t met before training camp began but Jordan – a former All-American defensive midfielder at Creighton – quickly sought out Carroll to talk to about the challenges of being a professional.
“He’s a great example of someone who I can kind of follow,” Jordan told MLSsoccer.com. “I’d love to be able to emulate guys like him.”
And yes, Jordan has heard the comparisons between the two before.
“I’ve gotten that a couple of times,” Jordan said with a grin. “We have similar styles. We’re not the most athletic players or flashiest players. But we’re team guys.”
Of course, only time will tell if Jordan can become as valuable of a commodity in the defensive midfield as Carroll. But the rookie is close to taking his first big step in the professional ranks as Nowak said recently that he believes Jordan – as well as fellow draft picks Raymon Gaddis (second round), Krystian Witkowski (supplemental) and Antoine Hoppenot (supplemental) – will earn a contract and make the club.
[Editors' Note: Jordan, Gaddis, Witkowski, Hoppenot, and goalkeeper Chase Harrison have officially signed with the club.]
From there, Jordan will look to continue to refine his game and strive for playing time – under Carroll’s guidance.
“I’m just trying to take it step by step right now,” he said. “Soccer is the only thing on my mind. It’s what all of us have dreamed about – soccer being your job.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Philadelphia Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.