By Rick Palsgrove
Jordan McElravey scores goals on the soccer field with power and grace. The ball explodes off her foot and past goalies’ futile attempts to stop her as the ball frequently smashes into the back of the net.
Earlier this season in a game against Whitehall, McElravey, a senior forward on the Groveport Madison Cruisers girls varsity soccer team, broke the all time school record for goals scored.
The previous record was 40 goals, set by Natalie Contosta from 1996-99. As of Aug. 28, McElravey had 49 goals and plans to score many more this season.
“I tied the record in the last game of the season last year,” said McElravey. “When I broke the record this year I was excited. It made my heart feel warm. God really blessed me. I want to score more this season and make sure it’s an untouchable record. But I also want to stay humble and leave it all to God.”
She said she considers herself a strong finisher and that she enjoys scoring goals and giving assists to teammates.
McElravey has lead the Cruisers in scoring each of the past three seasons and also leads the team in scoring in 2017. As a freshman and sophomore she was All-Ohio Capital Conference honorable mention and as a junior she was first team all-conference. She’s been playing soccer for 12 years beginning in the youth soccer program.
In order to score goals, McElravey said it’s important to be able to read goalies and know their tendencies.
“How I attack the goal depends on the goalie’s style,” she said. “Is it a goalie who comes out to meet you or does she sit back and try to figure you out? With one goalie I looked for the corners of the goal. With another goalie, who was tall and a good jumper, I tried to keep the shots on the ground. You have to think quickly on the field.”
Out of the many goals she has scored, McElravey said one stands out as her favorite memory.
“My friend had died a couple of days before a game against a tough team, Whetstone,” she said. “The game was tied 2-2 in the last seven minutes. I scored on the most beautiful shot I ever made and right afterwards I saw a butterfly on the field. I thought about my friend and said to myself, ‘She’s still here. She has my back.’ It will forever be my favorite moment. Soccer is my most enjoyable outlet. Whenever I score now I look up to the sky to remember my friend who passed away.”
McElravey said she likes soccer because it is physical, yet players are not out to hurt each other, and that it is a team driven sport.
“I like working as a team,” she said. “We rely on each other and trust each other. The team makes me feel like I have a family on and off the field. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my teammates and my coaches.”
She describes head coach Mark Coyer as someone who truly cares about each team member.
“He will do anything for us, he’s the best guy coach I’ve ever had,” she said.
McElravey also praised assistant coach Abby Vargo and junior varsity coach Elise Zimmerman.
“Abby is dedicated to us,” she said. “She is one of my favorite people. She’s not just a coach, she’s a friend. She and Coach Zimmerman understand the players and know what we go through. My coaches are my role models.”
McElravey said her mother is her “Number one supporter.”
“We’ve been through a lot together,” she said. “She’s been there for me from day one. She came up with money for me to play club soccer and she has given me everything I ever wanted and needed.”
She added that her father has also been very supportive of her soccer career.
McElravey is undecided on her future plans post high school. She is considering playing soccer in college, but is also thinking about joining the United State Marines.
“Senior year in high school is big. I want to see what comes in,” she said. “My best friend, Savannah Scott, is in the Marines. Savannah helps me to get through all my struggles.”
McElravey said she would love to some day make the U.S. National Women’s Soccer Team.
“Since I was three or four years old I wanted to be on the National Team. It’s every little girl’s dream,” she said. “It’s still my dream. I’d give my last shirt to be on that team. It would be fun to represent the United States.”
Above all, McElravey said it is important to keep moving ahead.
“We all have issues,” she said. “We’ve all been through similar stuff. Don’t stop just because something is in the way. Push through the road blocks. I lost a friend who passed away, but it helped make me stronger. In soccer, like in life, you pick yourself up and get ready for the next thing.”