With the CONCACAF Under-20 Qualifying Tournament one week away from its first kick-off U.S. defender Jordan Harvey talks about the U-20 team as they head into qualifying, and also discusses his decision to enroll in college instead of turning pro, his thoughts on college soccer and coming together as a national team in the middle of the college season.
U.S. Under-20 Qualifying
by Jordan Harvey
I didn’t think I was ready yet to go pro after the Under-17s, and I’m not sure yet if I’m ready right now. I still wonder every now and then if I’m ready, but right now I couldn’t be any happier with the decision I made to attend college.
I think it is actually a perfect situation for myself to be at UCLA. It’s close to home and I’m still playing soccer at a very high level – we’re ranked in the top three in the nation - so right now the decision has been great for me.
I agree with those that say college soccer isn’t the best soccer in some aspects, but it is still great for me, and I feel that I have still gotten better since starting college. Right now for me I think it is the best situation. I don’t know how much longer it will be, but I think I have gotten better in my time at UCLA. With college soccer you’ll see some teams that are very horrible, but if you look at our team we have some very, very talented players that are still pushing me.
We’ve been playing with this Under-20 team since before I was actually with my college team, so it wasn’t that tough to switch over in the middle of our college season. Our college team is not only good on the field, but we get along great off the field also. The guys are really fun, they’re good guys and the chemistry is really great, but this Under-20 team is a little different. This is THE TEAM you want to play for. This is the national team, so it’s an easy decision to make. You get yourself ready to play, even if it means missing a crucial part off the college season. There are some adjustments to make anytime you go from one team to a National Team, but everyone here is so excited and so ready to play that it won’t be a problem.
I think this team, and everyone on it, is really excited and really looking forward to getting out there and playing. If I had to describe it, I would say that we are quietly confident, but we know that we have to go there and still play very well to qualify. We know what we will be facing, and it’s three quality teams.
We’ve played Haiti before at the Under-17 level, and they’ll be underdogs here but they can all play. They’ve got speed, speed, speed. El Salvador is definitely going to bring some good players, and they have made it out of a tough qualifying group already once this year. And we’ve played Canada twice already this year, and we know that they are a very good team. They even beat us once, so we'll definitely be ready. We have to stick together and play the best that we can, and if we can do that I think we’ll do very well.
I think we’re all just very excited to get it going, and we can’t wait to step out there and play the games that we’ve all been waiting for.