Different kind of stage for for­mer soccer star

An­geli adds ra­dio game anal­y­sis to “Colorado Rapids Live” duty

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Benjamin Arthur Gabriel Scar­lett, The Denver Post

Jor­dan An­geli spent three years with her close-ups in the na­tional spot­light as a pro­fes­sional soccer player. But cleats were ex­changed for makeup and mike checks last June as she tran­si­tioned into tele­vi­sion broad­cast­ing for the Rapids as host of “Colorado Rapids Live.”

And this year, her voice has be­come a sta­ple across Denver’s air waves.

An­geli, a 2004 grad­u­ate of Lake­wood’s Green Moun­tain High School, has worked as a ra­dio color an­a­lyst for Rapids home games this sea­son along­side play-by-play com­men­ta­tor Conor McGa­hey on Al­ti­tude Sports Ra­dio AM 950, on top of her game host du­ties from a year ago.

“To be asked as a fe­male to call a man’s MLS game speaks to how much the game has grown in the U.S.,” An­geli said. “I’m just re­ally thrilled I get to do this.”

An­geli is on the field at Dick’s Sport­ing Goods Park for pregame broad­casts, goes to the ra­dio booth to call games and runs back down to the field for half­time be­fore re­sum­ing ra­dio du­ties for the sec­ond half.

“To see her en­thu­si­asm and en­ergy be­ing put out there for all to see is a great thing,” said long­time friend and men­tor Erik Bushey, a Colorado Rapids De­vel­op­ment Academy coach. “She’s a very in­tel­li­gent per­son and she has great ex­pe­ri­ence with the game of soccer.”

How An­geli came to call games for the club she grew up watch­ing started with her love of cen­ter stage as a child.

She wanted to be an ac­tress. At age 4, An­geli would per­form skits in her par­ents’ liv­ing room — act­ing out her fa­vorite scenes from “Ace Ven­tura: Pet De­tec­tive” for her fam­ily. But when she saw her older sis­ter pick up soccer at age 5, she wanted to shine on the pitch too.

An­geli played for two Jef­fer­son County League soccer cham­pi­onship teams at Green Moun­tain. As a se­nior in 2004, she racked up Colorado Ga­torade player of the year and McDon­ald’s All-Amer­i­can hon­ors be­fore play­ing on the U-20 and U-23 U.S. na­tional teams while at Santa Clara Univer­sity.

“You’re per­form­ing all the time (as a soccer player),” An­geli said. “You’re on a different kind of stage (as a broad­caster), but per­form­ing for an out-

come. … I like the chal­lenge of try­ing to make peo­ple in­ter­ested in what I’m do­ing.”

But the seven scars on her left knee tell a story plagued with in­jury and a de­sire to shrink from the spot­light.

An­geli tore her left ACL in May 2007, forc­ing her to miss her se­nior year at Santa Clara. It tore again 11 months later. Two red­shirt sea­sons al­lowed An­geli to fin­ish her col­le­giate ca­reer, and she was the 16th pick in the 2010 Women’s Pro­fes­sional Soccer draft. But af­ter train­ing with the se­nior na­tional team af­ter a suc­cess­ful rookie cam­paign with the Bos­ton Break­ers, she tore her left ACL a third time in the first game of her sec­ond WPS sea­son.

A third tear in four years and seven surg­eries on the same knee left her de­pressed. She felt like her soccer world was crash­ing down.

“I had worked so hard to get to where I wanted to be with the na­tional team and see­ing my dream come true,” An­geli said. “In an in­stant, it was swept up un­der­neath me.”

It was in the off­sea­son be­fore the 2015 sea­son with the West­ern New York Flash, which was then in the Na­tional Women’s Soccer League, her last sea­son of pro soccer, that she was in­spired to start “The ACL Club.”

The or­ga­ni­za­tion, com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing sup­port and en­cour­age­ment to ath­letes go­ing through ACL re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, is An­geli’s way of help­ing those who are deal­ing with sim­i­lar chal­lenges that she went through.

On her pod­cast, “Show Your Scars,” An­geli in­ter­views other pro­fes­sional ath­letes who have torn ACLs in the past and high­lights their jour­neys to re­cov­ery.

And An­geli is re­dis­cov­er­ing her pas­sion for soccer from the side­line. She de­vel­oped an eye for soccer anal­y­sis from her ex­ten­sive time on the bench and started putting film to­gether to help her coaches.

She be­gan her broad­cast ca­reer as an Al­ti­tude Sports intern in 2012. Now, dur­ing the col­lege soccer sea­son, she works as a TV an­a­lyst for the Pac-12 and SEC net­works.

Coach­ing young girls, too, and see­ing their joy for soccer warmed her heart to­ward get­ting back in­volved with the sport.

“Broad­cast­ing and coach­ing made me love the game again,” An­geli said.

Soccer once de­railed her ca­reer. But now she has found her niche on the air­waves and in front of the cam­era. She gets to per­form in front of fam­ily and friends again.

“On one hand, you may say that her ca­reer didn’t go the way she wanted to,” Bushey said. “On the other hand, she’s achieved way more than than the av­er­age elite player. … To see what she can of­fer, whether it be through an in­ter­view or an anal­y­sis is im­pres­sive.”

Added An­geli: “To be a part of (the Rapids broad­cast) on the field, in the booth, has been a dream I could not have even fath­omed.”

Jor­dan An­geli demon­strates high en­ergy dur­ing Rapids games, mov­ing be­tween the ra­dio booth and the field.

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