News Singapore Premier League • June 22, 2018

Jordan Vestering primed for bright future after Hougang breakthrough

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The left-back, who turns 18 later this year, is the youngest player to take to the field this SPL season

Jordan Vestering (right) in action for Hougang United FC.

SINGAPORE, 22 JUNE 2018 – He is a 17-year-old student currently studying Clean Engineering at Temasek Polytechnic and describes himself as a sporty teenager who loves to swim, knows how to play tennis and is pretty good at football.

It feels like Jordan Vestering is a typical Singaporean teenager, yet he is anything but that.

Born to a Dutch father and a Malay mother, Jordan is living his dream at Hougang United FC this season.

Having played at National Football Academy level from 13 to 17, he signed with Hougang’s Under-19 team at the start of the season, though he was not registered to play for the first team in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL).

But a pleasant surprise at Jurong East Stadium on 6 May changed Jordan’s life forever.

“I was quite shocked when I found out that I was starting against Albirex Niigata FC (S),” Jordan told the SPL website about being in the team to play the defending champions.

“I was like, ‘did I hear that correctly’? I did not really expect to make my debut this season as I signed for the U-19 team.

“But I knew that if I worked hard and played well for the U-19s, anything could be possible.”

It meant that he became the youngest player in the SPL this season to take to the field, clocking 71 minutes on his professional bow in a 1-0 loss.

The Cheetahs defended resolutely for large swathes of the game and were unfortunate to fall to defeat. Still, Jordan was able to pick up valuable lessons against the three-time league champions.

“Before the game, I knew that Japanese teams always have quick, fast and tricky players and always played at a high intensity and that proved to be the case,” he recalled.

“I learned that to compete with them, I had to pressure them quickly when they had the ball, be strong in my tackles and when I had the ball, I had to make my decisions quickly (even before I had the ball) because they would press me the moment I had it.”

Jordan Vestering (right) pushes the ball upfield against Balestier Khalsa FC.

UNEXPECTED RISE
It all started when former Head Coach, Philippe Aw, brought Jordan into the first-team picture at the end of April.

“I started training with the first team a week before our game against Home United FC (on 2 May) and I made the bench against Home later that week,” he said.

His professional debut followed a week later.

It was a long time in the making for the youngster, who had been waiting for that moment ever since he was just eight.

“I knew that I wanted to play professionally when I was one of the mascots to walk out with the players during an S.League game,” he said.

“I picked up football when I was about six years old. I think football chose me. My mom bought me a football when I was young and from that point on, the ball followed me wherever I went.

“I feel grateful for the opportunity to make my debut before I turn 18. Many people my age would love the opportunity to make their debut. Therefore, being able to do so makes it extra special.”

Jordan has featured at left-back four times this season, including all three matches that the Cheetahs have played in June, the latest being a 1-0 victory against Balestier Khalsa FC – their first win of the season.

Unfazed against more experienced players, Jordan has stood his ground brilliantly despite his tender age and tries to base his game around two legendary defenders of the game.

“I look up to Nemanja Vidic’s defensive game a lot,” he said. “He doesn’t let his opponents beat him and he always comes up with crucial tackles. I would also try my best to prevent opponents from beating me one on one; as well as defend strongly for the team.

“I look up to Marcelo too as he is a perfect example of the modern full-back – strong defensively and attacking-wise.”

Jordan Vestering (front row, second from right) on his debut against Albirex Niigata FC (S).

BRIGHT FUTURE
One of the most exciting young talents to have graced the SPL this season, Jordan believes that his love for the game has been key in his rise.

“I think the main factor (that I am playing regularly) is that I play with my heart,” he asserted. “I give my 110 per cent and never give up during training and in matches.”

But Jordan, who does not turn 18 until 25 September, is aware that he still has plenty to learn, pointing out that he could “be calmer on the ball” when under pressure.

Apart from lacing up his boots, the Hougang number 59 is also adept with a tennis racket and in the swimming pool.

“I think that being proficient in tennis and swimming helps strengthen areas of my body that are not used in football,” he said.

“Swimming takes impact stress off my body and helps me build muscle strength, while tennis is a good alternative to jogging, and targets both my aerobic and anaerobic systems.”

Having made his professional breakthrough, Jordan is keen to achieve more milestones. Already standing at 1.77m and weighing 70kg, the youngster has been blessed with a physique that makes him a formidable foe to come up against.

“I want to help my club win as many games as possible till the end of the season, while a long-term goal would be to eventually get a national team call-up,” he declared.

With his tenacity to succeed, Jordan could well go on to become one of the best left-backs in Singapore.

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