Player Profile: Jordan Saling
“Whether it was the field or people playing futsal on the concrete, I was there and always playing. That’s what made me fall in love with it.”
FC Monmouth forward Jordan Saling’s game-winning goal in Saturday night’s historic win over West Chester United SC was his fourth of the season. The forward/attacking midfielder has been a fixture in the team throughout its’ inaugural season, starting all seven games that he’s played in.
Saling grew up in Haledon, a northern New Jersey town that he describes as heavily Hispanic, making it easy for him to find people to play soccer with at any time of the day. “As a kid, you have so much fun and freedom just expressing yourself while playing,” Saling said. “I started off playing for the Haledon REC team, and once I was seven I went to a local club called NASA United out of Paterson, NJ until I was a teen.”
As an attacker, Saling describes his playstyle as one that is technical with a strong focus on possession and dribbling. He enjoys combining with his teammates to create goal scoring opportunities.
Saling’s path to playing with FC Monmouth has not been straight-forward or easy for him, and he describes it as extremely unique. The midfielder played his high school soccer at Paramus Catholic High School before moving onto Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Teaneck, NJ campus for his freshman year to play National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I soccer.
“After not doing well academically, I left FDU and went to Bergen Community College where I wanted to get my grades back up and go back to playing college soccer,” Saling said. “Unfortunately, that didn’t work, and I ended up going to Junior College powerhouse, Herkimer College. At Herkimer I did extremely well and got tons of awards, but because of what happened academically at FDU, many schools didn’t want to take a chance on me.”
Saling’s next stop was Wilmington University in New Castle, Delaware, where he was set to begin play in the fall of 2017. However, during a summer training session, he broke his wrist, and it needed surgery. Saling missed a large part of the season due to the injury. “When I came back, I was able to play four games before my wrist got infected,” he said. “The metal plates in my wrist were contaminated so I had to have another surgery to take out the metal plates and clean out the infection.”
The infection resulted in Saling missing the rest of his first season at Wilmington, and he said that his first semester in Delaware was a very depressing period of his life. “But it also made me look at the bigger picture and made me realize what I actually wanted, and that was to be a professional soccer player,” Saling said.
Academically, he completed his second semester at Wilmington online while continuing to focus on the next step in his soccer career, which led him to a fellow NPSL side in the Atlanta Silverbacks last February. Saling said, “After a few weeks I realized this wasn’t a good place for me to be for my development and decided to come back to New Jersey.”
Saling ultimately decided to spend his summer playing for FC Monmouth. “I thought it was awesome that a new team was coming to the area,” he said. “It gives kids a chance to pursue their dream and try to get games at a high level over the summer.”
FC Monmouth Head Coach Brian Woods has been a massive influence for Saling since he made the decision to play for the club. Saling said, “I’ve known Coach Woods for a few years now. He’s a good coach and an even better person.” Saling plans to play for Woods beyond this summer, as he is attending William Paterson University in the fall and joining their men’s soccer program, which Woods has been at the helm of for the past 26 seasons.
Saling said that since FC Monmouth is a brand-new club, most of the players did not know each other going into the beginning of the season, which made it easier for them to feel comfortable with getting to know each other early on. “I feel this has brought us closer together as a team. At first of course it was tough and that shows by our first few results, but we’ve grown so much as players and as people since the beginning,” the midfielder said.
The club began its inaugural season with two losses on the road to Atlantic City FC and FC Motown, respectively, before getting their first ever win in their first ever home game on May 26th. Since then, the team has gone on to finish the regular season unbeaten at home and with an overall record of 5-3-1. “We are doing better than many expected,” Saling said. “Some teams come in thinking they’re going to smash us and it’s funny when the game’s over and they did the complete opposite.”
FC Monmouth head into their final match of the regular season on Saturday against New Jersey Copa FC, where a victory against their NJ rivals will earn them the final spot in the Keystone Conference playoffs. “I’m so excited about getting this playoff spot. We need it. It would look so good for the club, the owners, the fans, and everyone who is involved with FC Monmouth. [They] are so good to us, we must give back by getting this playoff spot,” Saling said.
Looking ahead to his future, Saling is already thinking ahead after he plays his last collegiate soccer season this fall at William Paterson. “My plans are to become a professional soccer player… once November comes around I’ll definitely be going on trials with clubs abroad or in the United States.”