What’s a footballer’s main asset on the pitch?
A deft touch? A wicked left foot? Pace?
For York9 FC newcomer Jordan Wilson, it’s his mouth – no, seriously.
“Honestly, 30 per cent of my game is personality; never die, always want to be always talking, always in everything,” Wilson told CanPL.ca. “I’m a team guy – just all in with everyone.
“If I couldn’t use my mouth, I’d be an average player.”
How Wilson developed that personality and gift of the gab is apparent, and it serves him well in his ability to slot in at centre-half, fullback, and in a defensive midfield role.
At 29-years-old, the Mississauga, Ont., native comes from a different generation of Canadian talent. Bouncing around the GTA’s various youth programs in the late 2000s, he saw teammates and opponents, such as former Toronto FC defender Ashtone Morgan and York9’s Roger Thompson, earn rare pro contracts available to Canadians. Meanwhile, the path he took saw him play in the U.S. college system before signing with Danish second-tier side Nykøbing FC.
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“At 15 I wasn’t the guy – I got on the pitch somehow by my attitude or what I was bringing to the team,” Wilson stated. “It’s something innate – I’ve always had it when it comes to life and football, I just want to make the most out of every opportunity.”
At 19, Wilson had become a half-decent footballer. That led him to university in the U.S., specifically Grand Rapids, Michigan, where his family became even more prevalent.
“I was so overconfident… I thought I was going to go to a big school in the States,” said Wilson, adding he’s happy he picked Cornerstone University, the same school as his older brother Patrick, who is a youth coach at English Championship side Bournemouth AFC.
“You have a 17-year-old going away to school for the first time… it didn’t exactly start out great.”
Wilson credited Cornerstone University coach Stephen Herdsman, a former MLS fullback, in helping him develop before he eventually joined Nykøbing FC, where he made close to 150 appearances.
Wilson’s father, who coached him during youth football, would drive to Michigan to see his son’s matches, only to commute back to the Greater Toronto Area that night, completing a 10-hour round-trip.
“Dad let me fall in love with the game on my own. He was never overbearing, but he never had to tell me to train,” Wilson said.
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It’s no secret York9 is a team in a transition, which makes Wilson’s personality even more valuable to the club. Former captain Manuel Aparicio recently signed with Pacific FC, Kyle Porter and Ryan Telfer also look set to depart the club, and Joe Di Chiara and Luca Gasparotto already have left.
It’s left a void in leadership at the club that Wilson is more than happy to fill.
“It morphed into a perfect opportunity because it is a younger team. They are starting fresh… Obviously, you don’t go there day one and say, ‘this is my show,’ but naturally, I am who I am, I try to fill in holes,” Wilson said.
“I want to sacrifice and not come back being 29 to play s–t football. York9 understood where I was coming from – it wasn’t so much about money and this and that; it was more about making a home and finding a way to promote myself and Canadian soccer.”