10 things you (probably) didn't know about Jordan Allen

As told to Ben Wille
  1. I grew up in Rochester, N.Y. I went down from Rochester to the U.S. U-17 residency program in Florida early in 2011, and coming out of the program I was looking for a place to go so I went to RSL’s Academy down in Casa Grande. I spent a year and a half there, and in that time I played a little bit with the RSL Reserves and met with the coaching staff. And then before joining RSL I spent one semester at the University of Virginia.
  2. I went to the Academy because I was looking for a place where you can play every single day at a high level and in a good environment – there aren’t a lot of places like that in the U.S.  So when I was coming out of residency I was looking for a place that could offer me something like that, and RSL had the only residential academy in the country. So for me it was a no brainer.
  3. They have a great coaching staff down there at the Academy – Freddy Juarez and Tony Bruce – and they play a good style of football which is the same way we play here. Playing there helped me get stronger and better technically, and it made the transition from playing with them to playing with the Reserves easy for me.
  4. Though I only signed a month ago, this is actually my third preseason that I’ve gone through with RSL, so I feel very prepared. There weren’t a lot of shocks for me because I knew what to expect. It was important for me to go through those before actually signing so I knew what I was getting into.
  5. I had a chance to sign with RSL ahead of the 2013 season, but I decided to go to Virginia for a season instead. My parents and I are really into education and Virginia offered me an opportunity to get a great education at a great university. And I’m able to go back there whenever I can or whenever I’m available. It was a big thing for me and my family to make sure I took care of that before I really started to get into my career.
  6. It was a great experience for me going to UVA – the coaching staff there was great and we made a good run in the College Cup. They [University of Virginia] play a schedule where you play two games a week and it’s a grind for those three months and that helped me prepare for this physically and mentally.
  7. As for my preferred position, that’s kind of tough – the system we play with is a diamond midfield and we’re really good at it and with that formation there is not as much width coming out of the midfield. I like playing wide so I think in the long run I’ll excel as an outside back here.
  8. My first goal for this year is to just get myself in that group that is consistently making the 18. If I can make the 18 then I’ll try and make my way into the starting 11. But I’m going to stay grounded and stay realistic. I know I have to work hard just to get into the 18, and there are a lot of good players here so it’s not going to be easy.
  9. To get away from the game I watch more of the game – I don’t think I really get away from it. If I’m taking a break physically just to get my legs back, I’m probably watching an Arsenal game or googling Arsenal news. So I don’t think I really get away from the game. If I do, I’m usually hanging out with my friends and enjoying my family.
  10. I just got my first apartment – I’m rooming with [RSL forward] Benji Lopez, who I know from the Academy and the national team. It’s a little bit different out here than it is in Rochester and at the University of Virginia, but I’m looking forward to it out here. I spent three or four weeks here in the summer and liked it. I also found a barber shop out here my first week so that was important.