Sumner High senior defender Jordan Thompson is special.
That’s how coach Robi Turley feels about her standout player, who continues the coach’s four-year run of producing Division I soccer players. It’s what her teammates think about her when she comes through in the clutch late in games.
And it’s what this community has come to embrace.
“You got a good thing going when your best player is hardworking and (a) will-do-anything-for-her-team-type of person,” Turley said. “She’s a special player that (the) team and community really gets behind.”
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She’s also like a kid on the playground.
You got a good thing going when your best player is hardworking and (a) will-do-anything-for-her-team-type of person. She’s a special player that (the) team and community really gets behind.
Sumner coach Robi Turley
There’s an old adage in sports, that the individual is only as strong the whole. That saying is usually found to be truth in sports, and in soccer, it is the law of the land. No one person can beat 11 other players without a little help from their teammates.
“Defense isn’t just with the back line, it’s within the midfield and even the forwards,” Thompson said. “I think that’s why we’re so successful: Everybody is ready to defend. Everybody is ready to attack. I think that’s what separates our program from most.”
But there’s something different about Thompson — that old adage, it gets thrown out.
“It’s amazing playing next to her because she’s such a high-level player,” teammate Alli Radnieki said. “She’s so good at (the) leadership role. She’s kind and caring, and she’s passionate about each and every one of us. It makes coming to practices and coming to games so much better, because you know that she has your back.”
(Thompson is) kind and caring, and she’s passionate about each and every one of us. It makes coming to practices and coming to games so much better, because you know that she has your back.
Going into play this week, Sumner was undefeated after earning two shutouts — 1-0 over South Kitsap and 4-0 over Curtis — with Thompson scoring her first goal of the season against Curtis.
“We got two wins in our first two games in 4A — both shutouts — and I was able to score,” Thompson said. “Not a bad way to start of the season.”
As a freshman in 2013, Thompson helped Sumner win the Class 2A state title while competing in the 2A SPSL. Since then, Thompson has helped Sumner win back-to-back 3A SPSL league titles after the school moved up in classification two years ago.
Now, as a member of the 4A SPSL, the Spartans are off to a great start in their attempt to capture a league title in each of Thompson’s four seasons.
“I think it speaks to Robi’s coaching,” said Thompson on Sumner moving from a 2A program three years ago to now being a part of the 4A SPSL. “We’re ready to step up.”
With its captain in tow, Sumner is considered a favorite to claim one of the few playoff spots out of league.
One of a kind
Not many players or people have come into Turley’s system at Sumner that match everything that Thompson has brought to the school and program.
Gonzaga’s Sarah Carter (Class of 2012) didn’t bring to the program like Thompson does; neither did Wyoming’s Alyssa Murray (2014), who mentored Thompson for two years when she was a freshman and sophomore.
Her athleticism could be what many could point to as what makes her a standout player. Last year was her first and only year with Sumner’s track and field team, and by the end of the season, Thompson owned six school records — most of which she broke on her first attempt in the event.
“I was really just trying to have track help me develop and train more for soccer,” Thompson admitted.
But what makes Thompson a truly special player for Sumner isn’t what she has done while playing for the Spartans. It’s who she is for the community at large.
“When your best player is someone like Jordan, (who) has the best character and is the hardest-working player, it’s easy for people to follow,” Turley said. “Because the best player doesn’t have to be like that. I’ve had plenty of good players that weren’t also (a) good all-around person like she is.”
It’s been the same image every spring and summer when Sumner came out for either practices or hosting youth soccer camps. And it’s continues to be the first thing teammates notice with the new season underway.
“She always goes the extra mile,” Radnieki said.
Thompson’s always the first to arrive and last to leave. She’s the one the kids from the area gravitate toward, surrounding the Spartans’ top player to seek a word with her. This is what Thompson always dreamed about.
“Playing soccer has always been something that’s felt natural,” she said.
It’s never just been about her own high school career, the reason why Thompson puts so much of herself into the school and program.
To her, it was more than all those league titles and the one state championship she was a part of. It’s always been a school-first attitude.
“There’s always something to improve on. I’m never perfect, ” Thompson said. “I have multiple bad touches in a game or missed clearances, so there’s always something to improve on as a player and team.”
“You want to make your team and honestly, your area better when you leave,” she added. “It’s been important to me to reach out to the kids in the Sumner and surrounding areas, because I want this to be a place people want to come to. I want to help Sumner continue to being a strong program.”
Sumner soccer is bigger than just one player, Thompson added, so it’s her duty to make sure it’s strong going forward.
The future is what always matters for the Spartans.
“When you have a player who is an athlete like Jordan, but is also a great person, that’s something special to have,” Turley said. “When you have someone who is willing to put in all the work she does each day with school, and playing soccer for both her club team and with us, it makes the other girls around her want to match her level. Not many people come around like her.”