Jordan Angeli and The ACL Club

Jordan Angeli is one of those people that makes you feel so good and important every single time you talk to her. She is one of the most experienced, creative, and thoughtful human beings that I have ever had the honor of playing with, and she is continuing her life "after soccer" following the same path.

Life "after soccer" simply meaning post-playing days- because it's not like any of us will ever have a life without soccer, right? Jordan is still heavily involved in the game in more ways than one. Not only does she run The ACL Club, a community of athletes who have or are currently persevering through the journey of ACL rehab, but she also has been heard commentating several NWSL games this year. Jordan is a true example of someone who makes the women's soccer community better and we wanted to feature her on Sporting Chic to spread her story to our readers.

In typical Jordan fashion, she did all of the work for me. Honestly, sometimes with these blog posts, it's like pulling teeth getting answers back from people. And I don't blame them AT ALL. Everyone is so busy leading these awesome, badass, constantly-demanding-something-from-you lives. But Jordan, the angel that she is, gave me some of the most thoughtful, compelling, and in-depth answers that I've ever received. I'll let her do most of the talking here.

First, we've got a quick recap of Jordan's soccer career. She grew up playing for a typically successful Colorado Rush team- they won 3 regional championships and a national title. Jordan attended Santa Clara from 2004-2009 which included two redshirt seasons. She was a member of the 2006 U20 Women's World Cup Team that took 4th place in Russia and then a member of the 2007 U21 WNT. After graduating, Jordan was drafted 16th overall to the Boston Breakers by the late Tony DiCicco where she was the leading rookie goal scorer having only started games from July-August. (Hot damn, Jordy.) In 2011, she was a part of the player pool for the USWNT that would eventually go on to the World Cup final. 10 minutes into her WPS season she tore her ACL.

Jordan came back to the league when the NWSL started and played for the Washington Spirit in 2014. In 2015, she played with the Western New York Flash. Midway through the season, Jordan retired. Jordan has been witness to a lot of soccer history in this country. She's a true resource and an experienced, knowledgable member of the women's soccer community. 

Here is some of Jordan's story in her own words.

"I tore my ACL twice within a year in college then again the first game of my second year pro. All 3 of the injuries were different (non contact cutting, landing, then bad tackle) but all shared similar mental and emotional battles. During each rehab, I started to notice the mental side of the recovery was far more difficult than the physical. As an athlete, we are programed to push through physical challenges but the X factor is always your mental game. More than other injuries, you can't 'work harder" or "push more" during an ACL injury recovery. Actually, that can be very detrimental to your overall health and recovery.

This is the space where THE ACL CLUB was created. I started the club to bring to light this imaginary club that had been established long ago: once you tear your ACL, you understand what it means to be a part of THE ACL CLUB. You have endured, overcome, and been strengthened physically and mentally through this rehabilitation process. I wanted to bring light to all these athletes who are proud to show their scars and how those scars taught them patience, perseverance, passion, resilience, and self belief. I also started THE ACL CLUB with the hopes to help reduce the number of people who are joining the club. The rate of ACL tears in our country continues to increase for a various amount of reasons. I believe that through learning more about how our body moves and how to activate the correct muscles before training, we can reduce the risk of this injury significantly. You can't prevent someone from tearing their ACL- when you play sports you run the risk of injury- but we can learn about how we can do everything to help our bodies perform better. 

When I look to the future of what THE ACL CLUB is going to be, I see two main things. 

First, I envision it being the first place you go to when you tear your ACL. Not only will we provide tools to help you with the mental and emotional side of the recovery, but we'll also provide a whole database of tested and accomplished orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, mental health professionals (psychologist and sports psychologists), and sports performance specialists. A membership would provide athletes content every week, mentorship, and the pride of being a member of the club because of how much the challenge made you grow. 

Secondly, I don't want people to join the club. This is not the aim. The aim is to make those who have gotten injured (because face it, when you play sports unfortunately injuries happen) a place to feel supported and part of a team. So my aim here is to help create programs that help athletes learn how to move better in hopes to reduce the risk of non-contact injuries. This would be taught to athletes, coaches, and even parents as a way to help correct and activate the correct muscles so we can start to teach athletes at a younger age how important it is to learn how to use their bodies properly."

Visit The ACL Club website HERE.

Jordan's injuries, despite the hardships they created, actually helped serve as a transition period for her to discover another career path in broadcasting. 

"In 2011 when I tore my left ACL for the 3rd time, I was heartbroken. I went from playing with the national team just weeks before to being a month and a half from my 25th birthday and feeling like my world slipped away from me. I did a lot of soul searching and that injury helped me realize how much more there was to my life and soccer career than just being on the field. I started to think of all I have learned from my years playing, and years watching film and games from the sideline when I was injured, and realized I had a good eye for the game.

So, as I recovered from a long staged ACL reconstruction, I started my new career of broadcasting. I started from square one in HS soccer here in Denver, had an internship with a local TV station, Altitude, who covers the Colorado Rapids, and then come the fall I emailed DU and CU and asked to be on all their internet broadcasts. I just knocked and kept knocking, working hard to improve and be me throughout it all. Now, 5.5 years later I am working in both MLS and NWSL calling games and feeling like I am just starting to tap into my potential.

My journey to here has been very similar to my journey on the field. Embracing the opportunities to learn, working hard, and staying true to myself throughout. I love this game and I love the passion I have for it. Of course, as a broadcaster you have to be more professional, but one of my favorite things about soccer is how much I feel the game. Happiness and joy just come out of me no matter if I play or watch! Now as a broadcaster, I ooo and ahh when I see someone get megged and I shout when someone scores a golazo. It is the game I love and I want people watching to not only see how amazing this game is but also FEEL IT TOO and I have this great opportunity to help them with that. I feel so blessed to be living my dream and continuing to pursue dreams I have had since I was a young girl- just on a different side of the white lines now."

Jordan's passion for soccer is contagious. You've probably heard her commentating an NWSL game this season. What you would notice first is the genuine excitement in her voice. Jordan's joy for the game is what allows her to delve into detail. She speaks from personal experience, from relationships that she has cultivated through her years of playing, and from a true and thorough knowledge of the game. It's like watching the game with a friend, experiencing the highs and lows of the game with someone who actually truly cares.

Keeping it 100, we of course asked Jordan where we can improve as a community. As you all know if you're reading this, Sporting Chic is about growing the women's sports community and bringing together athletes from all sports. Don't act surprised at this point, but Jordan obviously broke it down for us.

1. More coverage, but this doesn't have to be traditional coverage from TV outlets. I think we are in a really crazy cool time in society where we can do just that. We can create our own content, distribute it, and then market it to massive amounts of people through social media (hello SGP). What is missing in this piece is the connections - I have to believe that there are companies out there who want to support the amazing work of female athletes. Who want to pay to sponsor this content creation and showcase their athletes doing good in the world. There are way too many great female athletes who have amazing stories of perseverance, persistence and resilience - these stories need to be told and seen. I've always wanted to create a company that does just this - connect female athletes with like brands. I think it could really be beneficial to the businesses, sport and athletes (if only there were more hours in the day!) I am currently working on something in this realm that I can't wait to share with others. I really think it will help so many people. 

2. Can I get a retweet?! Social media is the newspaper of our generation it seems. When my athlete friends are doing something great, I retweet it! Not saying I have a huge reach, but maybe 1,2,3 other people see it and maybe one of those people feels inspired or wants to help. If the women with more social reach retweeted more about the good works of those who aren't there yet - we could start a female athlete fire with all the great things we are doing in this world. Let's start a fire that others can't deny. Girl power at the touch of a button - so follow WNBA players, Hockey players, pro snowboarders, surfers, all women in sports and start retweeting their stuff not just liking it. Same effort - bigger impact.

3. Continue to perform. Whether it be on the court, field or in the broadcast booth, I think the main thing we have to keep doing is performing. I am not sure we will see female sports being displayed as much as men's sports in our generation, but we can continue to push that barometer more to the middle. Watch other teams play, support your local female athletes so we can keep moving in the right direction.  

If you're an avid reader, you probably saw our recent blog post on La Clé. If you didn't, click here. Jordan has worked closely with La Clé as well, forcing us to wonder if she EVER watches Netflix while eating chocolate chips in her bed or has literally any down time at all. Here's what she had to say about her experience with Deanna and La Clé.

"In 2014 Jill Loyden did a campaign with La Cle to raise money for domestic violence awareness. In supporting the women's soccer community, I bought one of the La Cle keys she was selling along with another key I customized to say believe. I loved the concept of the company and what they stand for. About a year later, Deanna reached out to me about being a part of a new project she was doing called The Unlocked Project. She chose 12 soccer players to create a key with the proceeds going to a charity of our choice. In collaborating on this project, Deanna and I really hit it off and have become great friends. She is a great businesswoman who has created something so powerful and uplifting with La CLe and ReFocus Bands. She has helped me immensely with THE ACL CLUB over the past year and a half and for that I have been extremely thankful. 

I love what Deanna is doing because she is taking accessories and apparel and making them powerful. Refocus bands are my favorite because we are constantly talking negatively to ourselves. Our brains' first instinct is to go negative! Isn't that crazy? The Refocus Bands help you train your brain to see a new perspective and then little by little, you are believing in all that you are and all that you are capable of. I am currently wearing "Find The Silver Lining" and look at it multiple times a day realizing there is so much good in what I am doing. Even when I feel stagnant or stuck, I have so much to be thankful for and so many people have been positively impacted by what I am doing. That Silver Lining makes it all worth it."

A huge thank you to Jordan for taking time out of her impossibly busy schedule to help us out. Clearly, she is passionate about bringing together communities of strong-willed women and especially athletes. Give her a shout out on Twitter next time you hear her commentating! Follow Jordan at @jordangeli. Follow The ACL Club @ACLclub.