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2018 Player Profiles: Jordan Allen

Once heralded as the hottest prospect from RSL’s academy, Allen is now tasked with another long-term injury recovery.

MLS: Real Salt Lake vs Minnesota United FC Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

There’s always something interesting — and a little difficult — about writing a player profile for a player that not only didn’t see minutes in 2018, but wasn’t even close to seeing minutes.

That’s not through a lack of quality, certainly. There’s some thinking around the team, it seems, that Jordan Allen still has a lot of potential with this team. I remain hopeful, myself, but I think I’m hardly alone in that. There is, however, reason to be skeptical.

Jordan Allen’s soccer career — not just as a professional — has been plagued by injury. His first season, in 2014, saw him play as a substitute in the opening two matches before missing the remainder of the season. He then played two 23-game seasons — not bad at all — then suffered from injuries again in 2017, and that spilled over into 2018.

Allen’s injuries have been of a weird sort. In mid-2014, he underwent a knee surgery that laid him out for 10 months. In 2016, he underwent heart surgery to repair a rare condition, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, that caused a rapid heartbeat. In June 2017, he underwent a knee surgery to repair a “left knee femoral chondral defect,” and that, more or less, kept him out until now. He later underwent an offseason surgery, if memory serves.

It’s the sort of thing that makes you wonder what could have happened if he’d been healthy. While it feels like an eternity since we’ve seen him — and it’s certainly been a long time — it’s important to remember that he’s only turning 24 next season. That’s still fairly young for a player. The important thing now is that he gets minutes, and he doesn’t suffer another setback. If he does undergo another knee surgery or something of the sort, I think we’ll all have questions about his career. I suspect he’d be one of the people asking those questions.

What can Allen add when he’s back playing? It takes some time to go back and think, certainly. If he’s given a chance on the wing, can he still beat a player with skill? Can he burst past anybody? Is he destined to be a right back? Allen’s options are very much up for debate.

All that said, Allen is a smart person and a smart player, and he’s shown that he’s a hard-working person, too. Multiple recoveries from long layoffs is a perfect example of that. Those two things he has going for him could well be the difference between success and failure — but, as we know with Allen already, there’s a not-insignificant part of his career that will depend on luck.