Allen provides spark for Men's Soccer
Freshman midfielder stands out on young Cavalier squad
Last season, the Virginia men’s soccer team graduated only two seniors and featured a team that had 18 freshmen and sophomores. Despite the youthful and inexperienced roster, the Cavaliers defied the odds and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, where New Mexico snapped the team’s impressive seven-match unbeaten streak.
Now, the current team has 21 underclassmen, including 10 freshmen that were a part of the highly-touted 2013 incoming recruiting class.
“Both these classes — this year’s class and last year’s class — are among our most talented classes in years, and I anticipate two [or] as many as four guys working their way into the starting lineup,” coach George Gelnovatch said. “The bulk of this team is going to be made up of freshmen and sophomores.”
Among those who have stood out so far is 5-foot-11 freshman Jordan Allen, a versatile midfielder who showed flashes of his potential early on in his Virginia career. The former Real Salt Lake Arizona Academy and U-18 U.S. Men’s National Team player impressed early on in the midst of a constant shuffling lineup, playing all but one minute of the Cavaliers’ first three regular season matches.
After a strong showing in his first start against No. 10 Louisville, Allen started again in the second game against No. 19 St. Johns, showing his offensive prowess as he notched his first goal and assist of his collegiate career.
“[The goal] kind of came out of nowhere, actually,” Allen said. “They misplaced the pass in the back. At first, I wasn’t sure if I should jump it or if I should just hold back. I made the decision to jump it, and I just went at them, and luckily my finish was good enough to go in.”
Allen also showcased his deftness against the Red Storm by drawing a penalty in the box with a spin move to set up a scoring opportunity.
“It was kind of just instinctual, just moving off of where they were,” Allen said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get to score the PK, but it was good just to get the result.”
Allen’s instincts and creative ability add a new dimension to a blossoming midfield. Not only has he made an immediate impact, he is also able to make plays that offer his teammates the chance to shine, giving Gelnovatch high hopes for Allen with the rest of the season.
“He caused a PK, he got the second goal for us and he’s getting better and better each week,” Gelnovatch said. “So, by the time the season ends, I hope he’s gotten 12 goals.”