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Jordan Soccer

PREVIEW: Jordan Girls’ Soccer

Nothing has been easy for the Jordan girls’ soccer program in 2023. 

The Panthers have been without a reliable practice field for the last few years because of on-campus construction, and then they lost their coach midseason. However, Matthew Shawver stepped up to coach the last part of the campaign, and the way the girls responded has brought him back for another year.

“I’m impressed by their perseverance and ability to fight through adversity like injuries, not having substitutions… all of the girls who stuck it out showed up every week and every game ready to compete,” Shawver said. “You can’t really coach that. That’s something they have inside. It brought me back for one more year to see what we can do.”

Jordan has a very young squad this season with only two impact seniors in midfielder Leslie Martinez (pictured) and goalkeeper Leslie Chavarria.

“She’s taking charge while understanding she is the only senior so it’s time for her to step up and lead,” Shawver said of Martinez.

Martinez is a very capable lefty who has changed her approach in the last few years.

“I worked on my mentality and bettering myself because I had to flip a switch to be a leader and not let my other teammates down,” Martinez said. “If I were looking up to someone I would want them to do well. So, I wanted to show the girls that even though our coach left, we still got it.”

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Martinez added that Shawver has helped her and her teammates with overall perspective.

“He has come in and helped us a lot with different strategies and points of view that we didn’t see before, on and off the field,” she said. “Having a new coach to come in and push us the way he does keeps us motivated and keeps us going.”

Sophomore Julie Basto is also back in the midfield after a breakout freshman year. She and Martinez will try to feed striker Valerie Mejia. Shawver said freshman Crystal Beltran will also have an immediate impact on his team.

Sophomore center back Valerie Madrid has returned to anchor the defensive back line in front of Chavarria.

Jordan has also been forced to take a bus to Molina Park for training, but Shawver lauded the Parks & Recreation Department for making that permit process as easy as possible.

“It’s been an uphill battle but we’re doing our best,” he said. “We’re breaking some bad habits and tendencies right now. I’m excited to see these girls get to play.”

Long Beach High School Girls’ Soccer Preview
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.