Tartan alum’s academics and game come together in college

submitted photo Jordan Rowan-Stafford

Aspiring lawyer wouldn't mind playing soccer overseas

Becoming a student-athlete at any collegiate level can be difficult. But for one Tartan High School alum, she's embracing every second of the challenge.
Jordan Rowan-Stafford is from Oakdale. She's a senior at Concordia University in St. Paul, and a member of the Golden Bears women's soccer team. 
Rowan-Stafford's been on the team since she was a freshman in 2015. She's on pace to have her best collegiate season, as well as to make a few marks in the university's record book. 
"Jordan's a dedicated soccer player, she has a sharp sense of humor and is quick-witted," said head coach Steve Bellis. "She's a leader on the field, does well in the classroom. Jordan's a prime example of what a D-II student-athlete should look like."
While in high school, Rowan-Stafford didn't have the same drive in the classroom as she does now. She said she understood she'd have to take her academics seriously when she received a scholarship to play soccer at Concordia. 
Rowan-Stafford said she had a 2.5 grade point average at the end of her senior year at Tartan. One of the requirements to be eligible to play D-II athletics is to have at least a 2.0 GPA. Now a senior in college, she has a 3.4 overall GPA, and a 4.0 in her major of criminal justice. She also earned all-academic honors during her sophomore and junior year. 
"One of her struggles was adapting to be a college student-athlete, but she buckled down to be good academically," said Bellis.

Learned composure

Rowan-Stafford's been lights-out on the field, just like she's been in the classroom. She's recorded 13 points in the 16 matches she's participated in this season. She already exceeded her season-high in goals with six; she scored a previous high of five during her junior year. 
Throughout her college career Rowan-Stafford has produced consistently on the field. She's played in 72 matches for the Golden Bears in her four-year career. Her name comes up quite a bit in Concordia's record book. Currently, she's sixth in career points (47), fifth in career goals (17), tied for fifth in career assists (13) and seventh in shots attempted (134). 
Rowan-Stafford is one of the more composed players on the field. That's why she's tied for fourth in game-winning goals in the record book with six, and she's had three this season against Upper Iowa, University of Minnesota-Crookston and Minnesota State-Moorhead. 
She's become one of the most calm players when in front of the net. Bellis said Rowan-Stafford's composure comes with experience over time.
"I'm smart on the field, I know what to do in the given situation," Rowan-Stafford said. "For game-winners I get in the mindset that 'We gotta win.'"
It may be Rowan-Stafford's pre-game rituals that have been contributing to her success over the years. Before a game, you can find her swiping through her Instagram feed or on Youtube watching some of her favorite soccer clubs, like the U.S. Women's National Team. She likes to take what she sees in the videos and apply it to her game. 
At 5-foot-2-inches, no one would expect Rowan-Stafford to be one of the more physical women on the field. Bellis said that once she gets the ball though, no one can physically take her off of it. 
Rowan-Stafford spent endless hours in the weight room to get where she's at now. She understands that to get better she must put in the additional time outside of team activities. 
"It's kind of putting in the extra effort ... to do your part," Rowan-Stafford said. "Everyday in the summer I'd be doing something to improve my game."

Eyes on England

Bellis recruited Rowan-Stafford while she played for the Minnesota Thunder Academy, a program that helps grow the careers of young soccer players. Bellis said that she was someone who had a good soccer brain, understood the game and had the ability to play several positions. 
Rowan-Stafford started playing for MTA when she was 10 or 11, and that's when she started taking the game seriously. Now, a decade later she has aspirations of playing soccer overseas.
Her ideal place is to play is in England, and she said she'd try and get her master's degree over there. She also said taking a year off of school is a possibility. Rowan-Stafford said her end game is hopefully law school, where she'd like to become a lawyer. 
She said Bellis is helping with her search in England. Bellis is from Manchester, and has roots that could help connect his player with a team. He played for Chorley AFC, an English football club in Lancashire, from 1992-1998. 
The Golden Bears (9-4-3) are now wrapping up the season, as Concordia only has two regular season matches left. The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) tournament begins on Oct. 31. 



-Lucas Ailport can be reached at roseville@lillienews.com.

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