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Prep soccer: Seeking the 10

Markovich’s 2010 injury was a blessing in disguise

Posted: January 7, 2011 10:13 p.m.
Updated: January 7, 2011 10:13 p.m.

 

Less than a year ago, Canyon received what appeared to be a tough break.

Its starting midfielder Jordan Markovich sprained his ankle during a CIF-Southern Section Division III playoff game and had to sit out the quarterfinal match.

Though still ailing, he came back for the semifinal, only to see his team go down.

At the time, it seemed devastating, but it turns out, it may have been a good thing for Canyon soccer.

The 17-year-old senior was planning on trying out for a few different soccer academies, which serve as feeders to professional soccer clubs, but the injury put a stop to that.

“He would have made the academy if it weren’t for his injury, no question,” says Canyon soccer head coach Khris Savage.

Markovich had no choice but to return for his final year of high school ball, which was admittedly what he wanted to do all along.

“High school is where I have fun and it’s what I like to do, but it was better for my future to try out for academy,” Markovich says.

Now, he’ll have one more year to showcase his skills to the rest of the Foothill League and try to lead the Cowboys to a fourth straight league title.

He’ll have one more year to hear the sounds of his family cheering from the stands during each and every game at Canyon High.

More than anything, it will be one more year to just have a good time.

“It was a blessing in disguise,” says Markovich’s stepfather Glen Roederer of the injury.

Ever since age 6, when Markovich first picked up a soccer ball, he’s wanted to play in high school.

He played for a youth team coached by Roederer, who originally taught Markovich how to play the game.

As Markovich worked his way through the ranks of club soccer, Roederer started to notice the potential.

“Even back then, his skill level outgrew my coaching abilities,” Roederer says.

Markovich was a defensive player originally, usually at sweeper.

Roederer remembers hearing the TV on at full blast with Spanish commentary when Markovich would watch European soccer matches.

He still watches English Premier League games all the time.

In all his years playing, Markovich hasn’t lost touch with why he started playing in the first place — it’s a blast.

“The kid walks around with either a soccer ball or a Hacky Sack, dribbling it around almost every time you see him,” Roederer says.

And even now that he plays center midfielder, which is mostly an attacking position, Markovich says he still prefers the action over the glory.

“I just like touching the ball as much as I can,” Markovich says. “It doesn’t matter if I’m scoring, I just want to touch the ball.”

But none of that would have been possible if he had moved up to the academy level.

“Jordan’s always been the kind of kid where he doesn’t look for the flashiest team, he just likes to look for a good fit,” Roederer says.

For the past three years, the right fit has been in a green and gold uniform.

Since joining the varsity team in his sophomore year, he’s carved a good niche for himself on a cohesive Canyon unit.

“It would have been a tough decision for him had he made it to academy because he really enjoys high school soccer and playing with his friends,” Roederer says.

Even in his freshman year playing for the junior varsity team, Markovich recalls enjoying the laid-back atmosphere through all levels of the program.

But through all the fun and games, Savage said he’s developed into one of the team’s premier players.

“He’s extremely talented, and he’s kind of a character,” Savage says.

It’s the same approach he’s taken with the game since he started playing.

He’s always made sure to get full enjoyment out of the competition and the interaction with his teammates.

“When you’re all close, you all trust everybody,” Markovich says. “You know everybody has got your back.”

So in his final high school season before likely moving on to play at the college level, Markovich still does have a small piece of unfinished business in his mind.

And it has nothing to do with the pursuit of a CIF title that he came so close to a year ago.

He wants to win another league title, and with a perfect record.

In his sophomore year, Canyon went 7-2-1 in league play. Last year, the team had only one blemish on its 9-0-1 Foothill record.

“This year, we want to make it 10,” Markovich says.

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