Hometown Hero: Scott Gordon
Article By: Pedro Heizer
Photos by: Jon van Woerden
Boca Raton is a city known for its soccer.
Not only is Boca Raton the home of United States Men’s National Team forward Jozy Altidore, and Manchester City midfielder Ian Bishop, but Boca is also known for its youth leagues and travel teams that make noise all over the state.
Fort Lauderdale Strikers defender, Scott Gordon, a graduate of Spanish River High School and Lynn University, is a Boca Raton resident who is now making waves in the professional soccer world, and from an early age, people could see that there was something special about him.
In his early years, Gordon’s parents thought soccer would be a good way for their active son to use his energy; Gordon was enrolled in the YMCA league in Boca Raton. After a year in the YMCA league, his parents decided to move him to the local recreational league. Gordon played with the Soccer Association of Boca Raton (SABR) for another year until he moved up to the “big leagues” when he began playing travel soccer at the age of seven for Team Boca.
Team Boca has a reputation of brewing talent; the most notable is United States Men’s National Team forward Jozy Altidore who is also a Boca Raton native who went through the ranks of Team Boca before making his way to Major League Soccer.
Growing up, Gordon was an all-around athlete, “I used to play basketball, soccer, football, you name it” recalled Gordon of his childhood. Gordon went to Omni Middle School in Boca Raton where he played soccer during his 7th and 8th grade years. Upon leaving Omni, Gordon went to Spanish River High School where he was not only a member of the soccer team all four years, but also part of the football team, “I played wide receiver in the football team and a little bit of quarterback as well.”
During his senior year at Spanish River, Gordon began getting letters from universities that were interested in having him at their school. “I had the local schools like FAU and Lynn offer me scholarships, but in the end, I decided to go up to Georgia and go to Mercer University,” said Gordon “I wanted to leave Boca for a while and Mercer was a really good fit. They had a good soccer team, and they also had good academics which was important for my parents.”
Gordon played two years with the Mercer Bears, but suffered a hernia injury that made him miss his entire third year of eligibility. During this time, the Bears had just signed a new coach and for Gordon, the program wasn’t going the way he was expecting, “What I wanted to do with my career wasn’t the direction the Mercer soccer team was headed towards” explained Gordon. So, instead of being a reserve at Mercer University, Gordon decided to bring his talents back to where it all began, “I’ve known the Lynn Soccer coach for a while, and he had given me the idea of coming back to Boca and play for the Knights and I knew that was the right decision.”
Gordon returned to the field for his junior season in 2009, his first year with the Knights. Gordon appeared in 12 games and received an All-Sunshine State Conference Honorable Mention.
He finished his college career with 28 games, logging five goals, four assists and 14 points. He was a two-time All-Sunshine State Conference honoree, and collected NSCAA All-South Region recognition honors as a senior.
During his time with the Knights, Gordon also played for the Baton Rouge Capitals in the USL Premier Development League, scoring one goal in 14 games and helping the Capitals to the PDL national playoff semifinals in 2010.
The Premier Development League is the top level of men’s amateur soccer competition in the United States, and has 64 teams competing in four conferences, split into nine regional divisions; unofficially, it is considered to be the fourth tier of competition, behind Major League Soccer, the North American Soccer League and the USL Professional Division, and roughly equal with the National Premier Soccer League.
After great two great seasons with the Lynn University Knights, Gordon was drafted with the 53rd overall pick in the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft by FC Dallas. “There was talk during my junior year that I might be drafted by a MLS team, but those talked died out my senior year and I just continued to play,” explained Gordon.
Then, on January 13, 2011 Gordon received the call from FC Dallas to inform him they had drafted him, “It was completely unexpected, as a soccer player, having played the game for 20 years there was no greater joy than to be drafted by a Major League Soccer team. It was a dream come true.”
Although FC Dallas drafted him, it didn’t mean he had a guaranteed contract. When a MLS team drafts you, they own your rights but it doesn’t mean that you will be signed to a MLS deal.
Gordon played with the FC Dallas team during the summer for two months basically on a trial basis. Due to injury in the left back position, Gordon saw a lot of playing time when the team played in Orlando for a summer tournament. At the end of the summer, FC Dallas didn’t offer him a contract but they always had his best interest in mind, “They told me that if they were to sign me, I would be a reserve on a team that already has two terrific left backs. And as rookie, that isn’t the way you envision your career beginning,” explained Gordon “So they told me to get some game under my belt.”
“We [the Strikers] played against Lynn last year during their pre-season and we had known about Scott. We felt like Scott was a player to keep our eyes on for the future and we let Scott know that we were very interested in him” explained Strikers Head Coach Daryl Shore about the interested the Fort Lauderdale Strikers showed in Gordon during the entire process.
Playing in Fort Lauderdale is something Gordon is very thankful for, “Playing in Fort Lauderdale is great. My family grew up as Strikers’ fans and being able to wear this jersey is just an honor.”
Although only a rookie, Gordon has let his presence known in the NASL by logging his first career goal on the same day as his debut, back on April 29, 2011. “Even though Scott is a rookie he brings a very professional attitude to practice every day and I think that rubs off of some of the other young players,” explains Coach Shore about the attitude Gordon brings to the team, “he never asks why he has to do things like carry the bags or move the soccer goals, he just does them and moves on. His work ethic is very high and he is an all-around good guy which I think makes him fit into our locker room quite easily.”
Scott Gordon is surely talented enough to make a MLS team roster when the time comes next season and when he does, we can all be sure that our hometown hero will not disappoint and will always be grateful for the things Boca Raton has given him, “This is the only place I’ve ever lived, I love it here.”