Jordan Soccer

Girls’ Soccer Preview: Jordan Panthers

The562’s season previews for the 2022-23 school year are sponsored by Vertical Raise, the official team fundraising partner of The562.

The562’s soccer coverage for the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Beach Futbol Club.

The562’s coverage of Jordan Athletics is sponsored by John Ross, Class of 2013.

There’s a new attitude for Jordan girls’ soccer with first-year head coach Jose Espinosa taking over the program. He knew it would be a challenge to get the Panther pointed in the right direction, but the early returns in training have been positive.

“We’ve been training really hard,” said returning All-Moore League junior Leslie Martinez. “He’s come in with different strategies so we can play differently. We have a lot of good incoming freshmen that will help us attacking. It just feels like we’re going to have better opportunities this year.”

Because of field availability on campus, the Panthers have been forced to practice at the Jordan PLUS campus where the field conditions are quite poor.

“We all knew this wasn’t going to be easy,” Espinosa said. “Thus far they’ve stepped up to every challenge we’ve had so that’s been good, it shows they have character going into this season.”

Espinosa, who played his high school soccer at AB Miller, coached at Magnolia in Anaheim last year after coaching club and youth programs in California and New York. He said the Panthers have been working pretty hard through his summer and fall camps, and that he’ll rely a lot on the left foot and leadership of Martinez.

“The best way is by setting an example for the younger kids,” Martinez said. “I’m learning to be more vocal. It’s just a switch in my head that flips (to lead) and tell someone to do what they need to do.” 

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Martinez will be joined in the midfield by freshmen Julie Basto and Valerie Mejia. Espinosa said he wants to find a midfield formation like a diamond, 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 with Martinez as the No. 10 so all three can be on the field at the same time and the freshman can learn from Martinez.

Junior forward Claribel Ramirez got some key experience last year, and will also be an important mentor for players like Basto.

On the back line will be seniors Alexa Altamirano, Maidelyn Pecina and Kathy Zavalza joined by sophomore Valerie Madrid.

Espinosa said he wants his players to play unafraid while pushing forward.

“If you want to turn something around with a team you want to allow them to play their strengths, and I think I have a lot of offensive minded players,” he said. “This group is fun and close. It’s a tight knit group that’s respectful and takes care of each other. They are competitors and fighters. That’s what I want. They understand it’s not going to be easy, and the history of where we’ve been. They’re ready to turn it around. I think this is the start of a new attitude around here.”

“The key to success is that we go out and play hard and the best we can,” Martinez added. “We have to keep our mind on the game and leave it all on the field.”

Jordan has never won a Moore League title since the league was formed in 1983.

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.