Jordan Murrell’s voice has hints of two very distinct accents, the tradition of his London upbringing butting up against his formative years in Toronto. Those same distinctions can be made in his play on the field, as well. An imposing presence with his physical strength, Murrell also has the finesse to float a free kick into space for his teammates. It is that dueling skill set that made him a highly sought prospect coming out of Syracuse University, yet he landed with Real Salt Lake in the third round of the MLS SuperDraft because he also held interest in playing abroad.
Once he was picked with the 57th overall pick, though, he was excited to start a new adventure with RSL.
“So many things were going through my head,” Murrell smiled. “I’ve always thought that Real Salt Lake was one of the best footballing teams in MLS. I think I can model myself after the players here and succeed.”
The versatile defender plays both as a left back and center back and his ability to play with the ball at his feet fits well into Real Salt Lake’s playing style. In addition, he has a propensity to get forward that makes him a dual threat on the field.
“I’ve always liked going forward, but my main focus is defending,” he said.
When he was drafted, Murrell was in London, near to the very fields that he trained on in his youth. He had been training on a track by himself and he returned home to find his cell phone erupting with text messages and mentions on Twitter. After he spoke with his agent, he jumped on a plane bound for Toronto, just as he did when he was 12 years old.
The first time he took that flight, he progressed through the local youth teams in Toronto until becoming a high-ranking prospect with the Toronto FC Academy. He then prospered at Syracuse, notching five goals and 20 assists in four years on the back line.
This time on that flight, he had an opportunity to join the professional ranks on the other side. Now in his second week with Real Salt Lake in training camp, he is working his way into RSL’s defensive core filled with veteran players.
Murrell and RSL is in Irvine, California, for training camp and will face UC-Irvine on Saturday and the Orange County Blues on February 12 before returning to Salt Lake City.