Samantha, Tuesday and Kielli Jordan share a lot of things: clothes, seats at the same dinner table, a home, and (last not but not least) the same DNA sequence.
The triplets also share a passion for soccer and have excelled at the sport since they were in elementary school.
But one thing the Jordan sisters have shared for many years soon will end: the chance to play for the same soccer team.
The triplets, 18, signed with three different college soccer programs on April 27 in the Northshore High School library in Slidell. Samantha, the oldest by mere seconds, will play for Loyola Marymount in California. Tuesday signed with Niagara University in New York. Kielli is headed for Colorado Christian University.
Surrounded by teammates, coaches, and family, they smiled widely for pictures seated behind two circular tables; each sporting sweatshirts with the logos of their future schools. But as joyous an occasion as the ceremony was, each of the Jordan sisters knew that this moment marked the end of an era for them, and the beginning of new (and individual paths.)
“This will be a really hard adjustment for us,” said Kielli, the baby of the trio by one minute. “We’ve always played together. We’ve never been apart from one another for more than two days.”
The Jordans moved from San Diego to Slidell 14 years ago and arrived at Northshore four years ago. It didn’t take long for the triplets to assert themselves:– Samantha as a forward, Tuesday primarily on defense, and Kielli at midfield. The Panthers have been one of the area’s top prep soccer programs for years, but the Jordans helped them improve in more ways than one.
It started with familiarity and knowing what their siblings were thinking without fail.
“We connect with one another very well, probably more than other players,” Tuesday said. “We’re sisters. I think we expect a lot out of one another. If Samantha doesn’t get to her ball, I get on her, just like she would be on me if I don’t do my job on defense.”
Northshore girls coach Jeff Dunlap agreed, with one caveat.
“It’s like they share the same brain,” he said. “They know what the other is going to be before it happens, sure. But Northshore wasn’t about the triplets. What made them really special was they just made sure we were a team. It wasn’t the ‘triplet mentality’ and that’s all. They were so unselfish. They did what they could to make everyone better.”
Parents Virgil and Sharon Jordan had a stipulation of their own.
“Our mom told us a long time ago, ‘If you don’t make the grades, there is no soccer,’” Samantha said.
Grades never were a problem for the sisters, who all are A/B students. That is one reason they excelled not only in all areas at Northshore, but also as leaders for the Louisiana Fire club soccer team.
“These three are a big part of what we do,” said Fire coach Stephen McAnespie. “It’s not only what they bring to the team, but they do it their way. They all want to be better. They have individual goals, but (they have) group (goals). They want to make their teams better.”
So much so, McAnespie said that he believes the current Fire team could challenge for a national championship in the summer.
“It’s realistic,” he said. “It’s testament to what they do.”
But after the club season, the triplets will head their separate ways for the first time. They said they plan to catch up on the phone and on the computer when apart, though they know they’ll miss one another’s near constant companionship greatly.
The change may hit their parents the hardest, however. Sharon said she will fly to as many games as she can to watch her daughters on the field. Virgil will try as well, but his job in construction could make his flights less frequent.
No matter the distance between them, the Jordans plan to stick together like they always have.
“This is going to be a major challenge for me,” Virgil said. “It’s big. You know them as little individuals, playing club soccer, then growing up, playing here, playing with the Fire. It’ll be a big challenge for the family, but we’ll make it. That’s what we do.”