For Jordan Lane of Quantico Virginia, football has been a big part of his life since he was young. While other kids came home to watch cartoons after school, you could find Jordan deeply engaged in the accounts being told on Sports Center. He fell in love with football and, I, as a United States Marine, was stationed at the United States Naval Academy. At age six, Jordan, along with his family, attended a football game that was decided by a field goal. Overwhelmed with excitement and the responsibility that was given to that kicker, that was the moment he decided, actually declared, that he was going to be a kicker.
I have always supported everything Jordan has ever set out to do, with 100 percent backing. When Jordan decided to be a trash collector when he grew up, I told him to be the best trash collector in the world. There was a moment when I found myself in an “exchange of words” with a teacher when he tried to tell Jordan that he could not grow up to be a beekeeper, but when Jordan told me that he wanted to be a kicker, I told him that it was unlikely that he could be a kicker. I said to him, “Look at me, I’m 6’8” tall and weigh nearly 300 pounds,” and kickers are known to be on the smaller side. I was wrong.
Here we are today and Jordan, who takes after me in size, has played football as a kicker and has played it very well. He was all-conference as a punter at Rampello downtown school in Tampa, Florida as an eighth grader and has been selected all-state in each of his two high school seasons at Quantico Middle/High School on Marine Corps Base Quantico. Following a historic season in 2016 when Quantico finished second for the state championship while setting a school record for wins, Jordan was one of the top 27 scorers in the state scoring 43 total points. He placed first in a regional punting competition in Williamsburg, Virginia in late 2017.
One of his biggest accomplishments took place recently when Jordan was selected out of nearly 10,000 current high school athletes to participate with Team USA in the International Bowl. The International Bowl, sponsored by the U.S. Olympic Committee, is an international football competition. Though football is not an Olympic sport at this time, it is moving that way and the Olympic Committee sponsors this annual international competition.
In order to be selected, one must complete a rigorous training process in which you compete in a regional development camp to learn from some of the best coaches in America. Next, if you are selected, you participate in a regional development game against the best of the best in the country. During these development games, you’re further screened against the highest caliber competition in order to earn a coveted spot to play in the international competition. Jordan’s hard work paid off and he was selected to represent Team USA at the International Bowl, played in Arlington, Texas in the Dallas Cowboy stadium on Jan. 17, 2018
Jordan’s team was comprised of football players from all over the United States. They came together and practiced for three days prior to taking on the Japanese national team. Although Jordan’s team was prepared to represent our country in competition, they were overmatched by an older, more experienced Japanese team, many of whom played on college teams in Japan and were coached by American college coaches. Jordan had a few highlights that were mentioned favorably by ESPN national commentators. It was a great opportunity where he gained some valuable experience.
Though the score did not turn out the way we would’ve liked, being from a little town called Quantico, and overcoming all the obstacles Jordan has had to face, it was amazing. The honor of wearing the red, white, and blue, representing a country that his grandfather and I have both fought for, made it that much more special. Not only am I a Marine, so is his grandfather. The process of getting him to this game was awe-inspiring to both.
Jordan says, “Going from playing in a little town like Quantico, that sometimes wonders if they’ll have enough boys at the school to even field a team, to playing on the grandest scale for our country, and feeling a little bit of what my grandfather and father feel every day is amazing. I look forward to continuing to work hard in school, keeping my grades up. I will continue to work hard every day to become a better football player and I will work hard to earn the right to represent my country again. Hopefully this time we will bring home the victory.”
Jordan added, “As important as the wins and losses are, the lessons I learned in life push me forward. Because regardless of how far I get to go with football, it will end one day, I hope to be remembered as the best kicker to ever play at Quantico High School, but more importantly, I want to be remembered as a great son, friend, brother and person. “