Jourdan Ziff has had quite the impressive soccer career thus far. Jourdan is a professional soccer player and plays for La Liga Puerto Rico's, Puerto Rico Sol FC. While at Sol, she’s been named "Player of the Match" twice!
Before joining Sol, Jourdan played professionally for the Finnish club, NJS, and during her collegiate experience, she won two Patriot League Rookie of the Week awards. Off the pitch, Jourdan is an advocate for helping individuals learn how to properly fuel their bodies and maintain a healthy relationship with food, especially in the context of women’s football.
Wandering eyes, this is Jourdan Ziff’s story…
How did you get into football? Was it always your dream to become a professional player?
My parents put my sister and I into recreational football starting at the age of four. I have participated in a number of other sports throughout my childhood (karate, surfing, and track and field), but soccer has always remained my main passion and focus. Due to my competitive nature, I wanted to be successful in my sport and push myself to be the best player I could be at each level.
I've watched many teammates struggle with burn out, and I learned that was something I didn’t want - to force myself to play if I ever felt the same way. However, each level I've reached, I never lost my love for the game. This continuous passion and internal drive to succeed has carried me to the professional level.
What’s been the hardest aspect of being a professional football player?
I think the hardest aspect of being a professional football player is physically pushing your limits to be in peak condition while remaining healthy. It can be very difficult to have the running endurance, fitness, power, strength, and skill level while also avoiding injuries. Injuries take just as much of a mental toll as a physical one. Not being able to perform or being sidelined due to a recovery process is one of the most difficult aspects of football to manage.
Do you think that Puerto Rican football is mis or underrepresented in the media?
I think that Puerto Rican football is underrepresented in the media. As a United States territory, the sport should have more developed resources so that it can grow and be taken more seriously within the island. With more resources and representation, Puerto Rico would be able to start presenting similar opportunities that America offers their football players.
Do you think everyone is seen, heard or valued in the world of football?
I believe that people are not equally seen, heard, or valued in every aspect of the world, including football. However, I do believe that this sport helps make large strides with reaching and connecting those who are often marginalized.
What’s a common misconception that’s placed upon professional female footballers?
A common misconception is that at the professional female level you are compensated very well or making a lot of money. Almost all female leagues around the world are still very underfunded and don’t have the resources to compensate the players adequately.
What’s an issue or topic you are passionate about?
A topic that I’m passionate about within women’s football and female athletics is how to properly fuel our bodies and maintain a healthy relationship with food. This is an aspect of the game that is often overlooked and underestimated. As you strive to perform your best on the field, there are just as many approaches you can take off the field that can be just as impactful. Learning how to take care of your body and mind are issues that I believe should be given more attention at every level in the sport of football.
What’s a piece of advice you wish you knew before you became a professional player?
A piece of advice or lesson I wish I was able to learn before starting at the professional level is that you are your own best advocate. At the professional level, only you can look out for your own best interest on a day-to-day basis because there aren’t many people in positions that are able to do that job for you.
If you could sit next to any person, dead or alive, at a football game and strike up a conversation with them, who would you want to sit with? What would you want to talk about?
Pele would be the person I would choose to sit and converse with at a football game. Due to my Brazilian ethnicity, I would be incredibly intrigued to hear more about the culture he grew up in and future aspirations for his country. I would ask him about what his experiences and thoughts on the evolution of the game within Brazil and around the world. It would be an incredible experience to listen to him recount his personal journey and the different ways that football has impacted his life and relationships.
Given your accomplishments, from winning two Patriot League Rookie of the Week awards to winning the La Liga Puerto Rico championship with your club, Puerto Rico Sol, how have you taken it all in? How have you commemorated your accomplishments?
I think of these accomplishments as a source of motivation when striving to better myself as an athlete. While I am still playing and loving the game of football, the accolades are just a reminder or a piece of validation of the hard work you have to put in. The memories and relationships built with the other people involved in those achievements are an ongoing commemoration in itself.
What are some goals you hope to accomplish over the course of your career?
A goal of mine is to be able to have a chapter of my professional career playing in the United States.
Lastly, when you think of the word “football”, what comes to mind?
One of the first things that come to mind when I think of “football” is the world. Football is unique in its ability to bring different people, communities, and cultures together that might otherwise never connect. For me personally, it has brought me to places that I would have never lived and traveled to. Through these experiences, my worldview and perspective have broadened and evolved. By introducing me to incredible people and places in the world, football teaches me every day how to be a better athlete, teammate, and person in every community.