Age at MLS Cup: 24
Hometown: Scarborough, ON
ALL COMPETITIONS IN 2020:
Canadian forward Jordan Hamilton barely saw the field in 2020, but as Josh will explain, his influence on the 2020 championship season was enormous. When he was an even younger player, the 24-year-old had soaked up many lessons from those terrific Toronto FC teams, including the MLS Cup championship team he played on in 2017. In 2020, the Crew were flying high and had only suffered one loss on the year as of September 27. They went on the road (to Connecticut) to play fellow Supporters’ Shield contender Toronto, and promptly played one of their best halves of soccer all year, taking a 1-0 lead. The second half, however, was a disaster. The Crew lost 3-1. As Josh will explain, that’s when Jordan left his indelible mark on the 2020 MLS Cup champions.
THROUGH JOSH’S EYES
“I’ve know Jordan for five or six years, ever since I got to Toronto. Another hilarious guy. He’s a quiet guy, but when he opens his mouth, it’s usually something hilarious that’s flying out. He’s a kid with a lot of talent who didn’t get a lot of chances this year, but he’s another guy who was always ready at training. He’s a guy who when he’s running with the ball, you really have to be paying attention because he will fly right by you. He’s so athletic and he’s left-footed. He’s a poacher in the box and he’s made a living coming in late in games and scoring goals when he’s given the opportunity. I was surprised we were able to get him, but I was glad to have him on the roster.
“You know how I told you we can hear Derrick before we see him? Jordan filled the role of the friend that is more quiet. But if you paid attention, he is hilarious. He is an absolutely hilarious kid. He’s got this Canadian accent. Maybe because I spent time in Canada, I understand his lingo and his sense of humor.
“Here’s a cool thing about Jordan. We had a players-only meeting after that loss to Toronto. Jordan was one of the people who spoke. He basically told the team, ‘Look, this is a special opportunity. This roster from top to bottom is special. We can do some great things this year if we just stick together and don’t let little things get us down on ourselves or each other. No matter what happened, this can’t be what divides us. It’s one loss. We dominated the first half and they got us in the second half, but we need to stick together. Opportunities like this don’t come around often, especially opportunities in a locker room like this where everybody likes each other.’ So when he said that, I thought it rang true and resonated with a lot of the guys in the locker room. It made everybody step back and realize we had a really good opportunity. At the time, we thought we were best team in the league, but that second half was not the best display of that. But until Jordan said that, maybe guys were a little more down on themselves than they should have been. I knew the type of opportunity we had, but maybe the younger guys or other guys who haven’t been at a successful club, maybe they needed to hear that. You don’t want to waste opportunities like this. So it was huge for Jordan to say that.
“Once you’ve been through the grind and you’ve been on a successful team, you see the type of dedication and the type of togetherness that it takes to win the tough games and to win in the playoffs. It’s more than just having the best players with the most talent. It’s not just the team of best players. There’s a certain determination and unselfishness, 1-30. The 11 guys that play on Saturday or Sunday need to be as prepared as possible. If guys 12-30 aren’t willing to step outside themselves and act unselfishly and run those guys during the week and show up with a good attitude, then it doesn’t matter because 1-11 aren’t going to be as prepared as they need to be. So for Jordan to step up and say all that, I think that was huge for everyone to hear. For someone who didn’t have a bigger on-field role on the team to step up and say that, Jordan was wise beyond his years. It was a turning point in our season.”
[NOTE: To see a clickable list of earlier installments of this Josh Williams series or other MLS Cup related posts, please click HERE.]
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