English footballer Jordan Spence is one of those lucky people who gets to do what he loves for a living. He’s also very good at it.
The 27-year-old is playing his second season for Championship League outfit Ipswich Town and scored his first goal for the club recently, a late header from a free kick, to clinch a 4-3 victory for Ipswich over Millwall on 15 August, 2017.
Jordan, who plays defence predominantly at right-back, or a centre-back, has had an elite career that has included captaining England's U17 and U18 sides, and playing for West Ham United, Leyton Orient, Scunthorpe United, Bristol City, Sheffield Wednesday and Milton Keynes Dons.
In a 2015 interview with website Cross the Line, he said his best career moment so far was making his debut for West Ham "I came on as a substitute against Manchester City; it was awesome!
"To play for West Ham and to be educated by them, coming through their youth system was amazing. Growing up as a London boy and then to play for West Ham was a huge dream of mine which I achieved to some level; obviously I would have liked to have played a few more games for them. But overall, it was a very good experience for me," he said of his seven years with the club.
Jordan began his soccer dream "Going round to mates' houses and having a kick around in their gardens. Then a friend invited me to a soccer camp in the summer, and I went along and that began the process from there."
He began that journey at the age of seven at Chelsea and feels very fortunate to have been able to turn it into a full-time profession, but acknowledges that his talent is a God-given gift.
"To see my God-given talent and take it as far as I can is amazing. I don't see my talent as my own, I am merely a steward of it. I'm always trying to maximise my potential and it's something I enjoy doing," he shares.
a journey”Jordan was brought up going to Sunday school and church but it was not until his teens that he had his "first real encounter with God". That was at around 14.
"I gave my life to the Lord [Jesus] when I was 15 and I was baptised [immersed in water as an outward sign of his inward commitment] not long after that.
"There wasn't necessarily one moment for me [that changed my life], it was more a series of moments in my life and it's just awesome to see how God had His hand on my life. God has really revealed Himself to me through a journey."
Jordan says there is quite a lot of support for Christian footballers.
"At West Ham there was a chaplain who was ever present. I have had support from Christians in Sport and they've been great, visiting me wherever I am in the country, and they always pop in with a word to share or a voice down the phone.
"Obviously, I've also come across other Christian players too who have shared a similar faith. So there is a support network but also, for me, I've had a great church support which has really helped me. They always pray for me, which is amazing.
"With regards to playing and in life, I see my faith as my driving force. I wake up every day trying to work as hard as I can. When I play, I want to win and I want to play to the best of my ability, and hopefully I can give the glory back to the Big Man!"
Jordan says the best player he has ever played with is Craig Bellamy "when he was at West Ham. He was a phenomenal player and was sometimes just unplayable" and the best player "I played against was a 40-year-old Ryan Giggs and he was the best player on the football pitch."
When asked who he believes is the better footballer, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, Jordan replies: "I would have to say Ronaldo. To be honest, they are pretty inseparable, but I just feel like Ronaldo could play in any position, in any country, in any league you put him in. He can score all different types of goals too; poacher's finish, long range, penalties, free-kicks, headers, the lot. Messi has the natural ability, but for me, Ronaldo is just a better all-rounder."
In 2014, Jordan married English actress and singer Naomi Scott, whom he had dated for four years. Naomi played Pink Power Ranger Kimberly Hart in the 2017 Power Rangers movie.•