Same sport, new goals: Identity found in coaching after ended career

Former soccer player finds new purpose in coaching. George Schroeder | LTVN Executive Producer

By George Schroeder | LTVN Executive Producer

Roughly three years ago, Jordan Scott — Bristol, Penn., junior and Baylor men’s club soccer head coach — was forced to step away from the pitch as a player and contemplate his next move. Scott said he wanted to continue playing, but injuries prevented that from realistically happening.

“I had to make the decision between playing and being in near constant pain or giving up what I love,” Scott said. “It was the most frustrating experience in my life.”

In the team’s 2-1 win over the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor last Tuesday, Scott continued his renewed passion to stay around the sport, except this time from the sidelines.

Despite not being able to play, Scott said that connection isn’t taken for granted.

“It means everything to me,” Scott said.

During his senior year of high school, Scott tore his Achilles tendon. Within the past three years, he has also torn his meniscus, broken his toe and been diagnosed with chronic inflammation. The injuries piled up, meaning his soccer career was likely over.

“When that happened, and I knew my season was over, it just became this saddening, grim feeling,” Scott said. “What is my identity outside of this? Can I still find an identity in it?”

For Scott, the answer to that question was yes, though it wasn’t the path he expected.

One of his former coaches pointed him toward ways he could continue to contribute to the game. Although not right away, the idea of coaching would stick. During his freshman year, Scott attempted to try out for Baylor’s club team, but the pains he experienced during play prevented him from joining. In spring 2022, Scott came back and was selected as the next head coach.

“I definitely miss playing sometimes,” Scott said. “There are a few times I’ll hop in when it’s a week I know I don’t have too much work, but I wouldn’t change anything. I feel like I am where I need to be at this point.”

Scott said his experiences as a player have certainly aided his coaching, but now, coaching has changed the way he views the game. He said he doesn’t imagine himself running with the ball anymore while watching matches.

“It’s not so much as what used to feel like a battle of willpower and strength and agility, as much as it’s a battle of the brains in combination with that,” Scott said. “It feels like a game of chess in a sense, and you see all these people and they’re moving parts of the bigger cog.”

Like clockwork, Baylor men’s club soccer took down Division III UMHB 2-1 in a friendly match. One of those goals came from Keller senior Ben Andrusin, who said he’s seen a change in culture since Scott took charge.

“It’s been more professional I’d say,” Andrusin said. “I mean, when you think of a club, you think ‘club: just come and go as you please,’ but we have like a regimen we just stick to it.”

When Scott started as the new coach, it was an awkward transition period, but now, with a more structured practice system in place and growing interest in the team, the club’s roster is expanding and becoming competitive. Rockwall junior Ryan Chapman said one reason for the change is the coaching.

“We actually are playing for a purpose — we’re playing for somebody,” Chapman said. “It almost makes the team chemistry tenfold, way better, so I think the team plays a lot more ‘together.’

Along the sideline Tuesday, Scott directed the team the entire night, and it was easily heard from the other side of the field. Although he plays a big part in on-field success, Scott gave all the credit to his athletes.

“It takes so many people to do this,” Scott said. “All the credit for every victory, for all the commitment, goes to the players. This isn’t about me; this is much bigger than me.”

Soccer can be an escape from tough situations in life, according to Scott. He said watching his players channel tough situations into something healthy is something he’s glad to be a part of, and “doing life” with the team is one of the best parts of the job.

“This is a group of brothers; I feel like everyone has each other’s back,” Scott said. “How can I help you grow? How can you help me grow? It’s been kind of like a symbiotic relationship.”

Scott said he couldn’t be more thankful for those relationships. He has another full year after this season before he graduates in 2024 to keep developing them, and after that, he’s hopeful for the future, a future which he may be setting himself up for right now.

“Who knows,” Scott said. “Maybe I’ll be one of those guys coaching at a school like [the] University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.”

The team will be back in Waco Saturday to face Rice University at the Baylor Recreational Sports Fields. For more information on Baylor men’s club soccer click here. For the best way to stay updated on the team this season, follow them on Facebook or Instagram.