By Adam Watts
Photography by Janssen Photography
When four-sport athlete, Jordan Foss, steps onto the field for Hillcrest Lutheran Academy he is stepping in his parent’s footsteps. Both his mother, Debi, and father, Kevin, were multi-sport athletes at Hillcrest. In winter and spring, he plays basketball and baseball. During the fall sport season, Jordan doubles up as captain of the soccer team and kicker for the Comet football squad.
Foss spent the majority of his life in Bohemia, New York before deciding he wanted to go to the school where his parents met for his junior year.
“It’s kind of a tradition in the family.” Foss said. “We definitely don’t have to if we don’t want to. If I didn’t want to, we would have just stayed.”
Moving back to Minnesota to go to private school seemed like the right move for Foss. He felt the private Lutheran high school in Fergus Falls would be a better fit for him than public school in New York. Being in Minnesota also gives Jordan an opportunity to spend more time with his family including his uncle, Hillcrest head football coach Charlie Brue.
“It feels like I’m back home,” Foss said. “I have a lot of family. Coach Brue is my uncle, that’s really nice, and I have some cousins who go to this school. It feels like a more family oriented place.”
With help from his dad, Foss used skills he had built up over his life as a soccer player and applied them to the football field. He started playing soccer early in New York and enjoyed the challenge. He likes having to use his feet, rather than his hands as in most other sports. When he moved to Minnesota he decided to try using those skilled feet in his role as a kicker on the school’s football team.
“He practiced over the summer,” Coach Brue said. “His dad helped him a lot, put some videos up and showed me what he could do. It was pretty good.”
In the short time he has been kicking, Foss has dramatically improved his leg strength. His junior year, he said, he could kick the ball to the five-yard-line on a kickoff if he put everything into it. Now he is able to get the ball to the five, or into the end zone, easily. As a field goal kicker, he made a 41 yarder in Hillcrest’s game against Verndale this fall and has hit from 54 yards in practice.
“He has given us great field position,” Brue said. “Most of the time he kicks it in or near the end zone. If he has a good wind at his back, he’ll put it in so we usually have pretty good field position. That’s one of the reasons we’ve been successful this year.”
Foss has put in the work to become a better kicker on the football field but he feels the soccer field is where he is really able to show off his work ethic.
“In football, I could kick it off and run all the way up there but I have to stay back anyway,” Foss said. “I feel like I can’t put that full effort in. I can’t give it my all, even though I am. In football, it just doesn’t feel that way internally. In soccer, I can come out of a game drenched in sweat, feel my heart beating. I love that feeling – feeling like I actually gave it my all.”
Jordan’s effort on the soccer field has not gone unnoticed by head coach Rod Jensen. In just his second year at the school, Jensen made him a team captain. The soccer coach values Foss’ toughness and drive to lead by example. He recalled a play in the team’s game against Saint John’s where Foss went up for a header and fell backwards on his head. Jensen called time out to make sure the captain did not suffer any head trauma, but he did not want to come out of the game.
“He doesn’t know the word quit,” Jensen said. “He’s fearless on the field. That’s just indicative of the type of individual he is. He never quits; he works very hard.”
The captain uses his hard-working fearless play style to lead by example. If he gives his all every game, he feels his teammates will follow his lead and work just as hard.
“I know when I was younger it was such a big deal to me seeing all the older guys, seeing how they played,” Foss said. “I feel that by going as hard as I can, it will make it easier, and impact the younger guys.”
Giving his all on the field in two sports, going to school and making the 17-mile drive from his home in Battle Lake to Fergus Falls for school every day keeps Foss busy and tired.
“Normally when I get home I lie down in bed and take a 15 to 30 minute nap, after a shower of course,” he said. “I don’t have much time that I can just sit back and relax with the drive to and from school, sports, shower, homework, dinner and then it’s basically time to go to bed.”
Even though playing both soccer and football in the same season keeps him busy and eats up most of his free time, Foss handles the load. He practices once a week with the special teams on the football squad on Wednesdays. With soccer, he takes Friday practices off or practices lightly to save his leg for the football game that night. Soccer games are played on Tuesday and Thursday, while the football team plays on Friday, so game days never overlap.
“I try to remember how much fun I am having in both sports, which is why I’m doing them,” Foss said. “Thinking about how much fun I’m having playing, I feel like it’s part of my free time.”
Foss takes his active nature with him off the field as well. In the little free time he has away from sports he likes swim, play Frisbee and fish with his dad.
While the transition on the field in Minnesota has been smooth, the fisherman from New York is still adjusting to the fishing boat. “My dad did saltwater fishing,” Foss said. “He was really into that so, my brother and I got into it. We’re adjusting to freshwater fishing.”