Minnesota United’s Greg Jordan has a reputation for playing fearlessly, a quality that has helped solidify the squad’s midfield as the NASL playoffs grow closer. Another secret to his success: a self-described “plant-powered” diet, which includes packing his own meals for road trips. Jordan, 25, chatted with the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand about a number of subjects:
Q How did you become so interested in eating a plant-based diet?
A Ever since I started playing professional soccer, I got into what I could do to give myself an edge. I started eating healthy and I love to cook, so I started experimenting with food and found that what feels best to me and my body is eating that way and eating that lifestyle.
Q Is it challenging on road trips?
A Oh, yeah. It takes a lot of preparation. The night before I’ll cook up a lot of stuff, and pack a big bag that has my lunch, my pregame meal, dinner, some snacks. … Usually there are meals catered at the hotel, and every once in a while I can find something there. But to make sure I’m covered, I pack something to make sure I get everything I need.
Q I’ve also been told you catch some flak for looking young. Now I’ve gotten that over the years, so I get it. But how bad is it from the team?
A It’s not as bad as it is for the food stuff.
Q Do you think you look young?
A Yeah, I guess pretty young.
Q Is it OK to play matches after dark — your parents are cool with that?
A [laughs] Yeah, and afterward we play ghosts in the graveyard and capture the flag.
Q I heard you’ve broken your nose on headers quite a few times. Is this true?
A Way too many times. Four times.
Q Is this a technique problem or just an occupational hazard?
A The ball just seems to hit me in the face a lot. It’s just a magnet to my face. I’ve had surgery twice on it. … It doesn’t feel good to break your nose, but the surgery for it is a thousand times worse.
Q Why does this keep happening? Is it your fearlessness on the field?
A I would say I sacrifice my body. As long as we win, I’ll do whatever it takes. I block a lot of shots. … As I started finding my role with United, that’s kind of been it — the guy who’s going to do whatever it takes and sacrifice my body. I embrace it.
Q You’re coming down the wire toward the end of the regular season. There have been ups and downs. How do you evaluate the year as a whole?
A I think getting to the playoffs is always important, but after the success we had last year you want to do better than that. Getting to the championship is our ultimate goal.
Q You want another shot at New York, right — the team that’s been a roadblock in so many games?
A Totally. We’ve yet to beat them so far, and we’ve had two games where we really should have. Seeing them in the playoffs would be great, and we’d definitely want to get the win.