It lives within him, and hangs over him a little too – the iconic moment that has helped define Jordan Rideout’s identity and fueled his ambition.
The game: the 1995 FA Cup Final, Everton vs. Manchester United.
The goal: a header in the box that was rebounded off the crossbar and sent Everton to a dramatic 1-0 triumph over Man U.
The player: Paul Rideout, the English striker who scored 29 goals with Everton from 1992-1997 – none bigger than the game-winner that lifted his club to a major trophy.
Jordan knows the game and the goal all too well. It was his introduction to Paul Rideout, the professional soccer player.
Up until then, he was just dad.
Jordan Rideout competing against Chicago Fire.
“I was two or three when it happened but I can remember growing up with it,” said Jordan, who grew up in Southport, England before moving to the states just before his fifth birthday. “Every time his name would be mentioned, that goal would come up, and every time you would see the goal (on T.V.) everyone would turn and look at me.”
The eyes fixed on Jordan brought both an inherent pressure and a promised legacy. Soccer is a family tradition for the Rideouts’ and Jordan knew he would one day do his part to carry on the torch.
This season, more than any other, the torch has seemingly been passed.
Leading the U16 Kansas City Wizards in their first year in the U.S. Development Academy, Rideout has established himself as the team’s go-to goal scorer.
He’s scored 12 times and guided the Wizards to a playoff appearance – a breakout year for a player coming into his own.
“You could say that I have grown into my body,” Jordan said. “I started going to the gym more and really running and preparing physically. It’s been an incredible year and a really good learning experience to be able to play against so many great players.”
Jordan has thrived while going against opposing players like Malcolm Harris, Michael Gamble, Connor Hallisey and Matthew LaGrassa.
His U16 coach Jon Parry has called his star pupil a bit of a late-bloomer, but one that hasn’t improved simply by chance.
“He just works so hard on and off the field,” Parry said. “He’s not a player who is going to beat everyone 1v1, but he is very crafty and does a great job of keeping the ball alive in the box. He definitely has good genes. Paul had done a great job in not putting any pressure on him and Jordan likes following in his father’s footsteps in that regard.”
Jordan sees a healthy bit of himself when he looks back on his father’s playing days. He says that neither was the greatest athlete on the field but depended on good runs and their ability in the air.
Paul is now the coach of the U18 Kansas City Wizards, and he often talks the game with his son.
One thing they never talk about much is Paul’s professional career. Paul has given his son room to grow at his own pace and his own way, but the looming shadow cast from a successful career is always present.
“It’s had a pretty big affect on me – I would say 90 percent positive,” Jordan said. “It will always be difficult to live up to his shoes because he’ll always be the one who played professionally and scored those goals. But at the same time it gives me something to strive for.”