Jordan Angeli spent three years with her close-ups in the national spotlight as a professional soccer player. But cleats were exchanged for makeup and mike checks last June as she transitioned into television broadcasting for the Rapids as host of “Colorado Rapids Live.”
And this year, her voice has become a staple across Denver’s air waves.
Angeli, a 2004 graduate of Lakewood’s Green Mountain High School, has worked as a radio color analyst for Rapids home games this season alongside play-by-play commentator Conor McGahey on Altitude Sports Radio AM 950, on top of her game host duties from a year ago.
“To be asked as a female to call a man’s MLS game speaks to how much the game has grown in the U.S.,” Angeli said. “I’m just really thrilled I get to do this.”
Angeli is on the field at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for pregame broadcasts, goes to the radio booth to call games and runs back down to the field for halftime before resuming radio duties for the second half.
“To see her enthusiasm and energy being put out there for all to see is a great thing,” said longtime friend and mentor Erik Bushey, a Colorado Rapids Development Academy coach. “She’s a very intelligent person and she has great experience with the game of soccer.”
How Angeli came to call games for the club she grew up watching started with her love of center stage as a child.
She wanted to be an actress. At age 4, Angeli would perform skits in her parents’ living room — acting out her favorite scenes from “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” for her family. But when she saw her older sister pick up soccer at age 5, she wanted to shine on the pitch too.
Angeli played for two Jefferson County League soccer championship teams at Green Mountain. As a senior in 2004, she racked up Colorado Gatorade player of the year and McDonald’s All-American honors before playing on the U-20 and U-23 U.S. national teams while at Santa Clara University.
“You’re performing all the time (as a soccer player),” Angeli said. “You’re on a different kind of stage (as a broadcaster), but performing for an outcome. … I like the challenge of trying to make people interested in what I’m doing.”
But the seven scars on her left knee tell a story plagued with injury and a desire to shrink from the spotlight.
Angeli tore her left ACL in May 2007, forcing her to miss her senior year at Santa Clara. It tore again 11 months later. Two redshirt seasons allowed Angeli to finish her collegiate career, and she was the 16th pick in the 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer draft. But after training with the senior national team after a successful rookie campaign with the Boston Breakers, she tore her left ACL a third time in the first game of her second WPS season.
A third tear in four years and seven surgeries on the same knee left her depressed. She felt like her soccer world was crashing down.
“I had worked so hard to get to where I wanted to be with the national team and seeing my dream come true,” Angeli said. “In an instant, it was swept up underneath me.”
It was in the offseason before the 2015 season with the Western New York Flash, which was then in the National Women’s Soccer League, her last season of pro soccer, that she was inspired to start “The ACL Club.”
The organization, committed to providing support and encouragement to athletes going through ACL rehabilitation, is Angeli’s way of helping those who are dealing with similar challenges that she went through. On her podcast, “Show Your Scars,” Angeli interviews other professional athletes who have torn ACLs in the past and highlights their journeys to recovery.
And Angeli is rediscovering her passion for soccer from the sideline.. She developed an eye for soccer analysis from her extensive time on the bench and started putting film together to help her coaches. She began her broadcast career as an Altitude Sports intern in 2012. Now, during the college soccer season, she works as a TV analyst for the Pac-12 and SEC networks.
Coaching young girls, too, and seeing their joy for soccer warmed her heart toward getting back involved with the sport.
“Broadcasting and coaching made me love the game again,” Angeli said.
Soccer once derailed her career. But now she has found her niche on the airwaves and in front of the camera. She gets to perform in front of family and friends again.
“On one hand, you may say that her career didn’t go the way she wanted to,” Bushey said. “On the other hand, she’s achieved way more than than the average elite player. … To see what she can offer, whether it be through an interview or an analysis is impressive.”
Added Angeli: “To be apart of (the Rapids broadcast) on the field, in the booth, has been a dream I could not have even fathomed.”