VANCOUVER, BC – On a February evening in Casa Grande, Arizona, as most of his teammates spent the night winding down in their rooms after a long day of training, Jordan Harvey sat in the treatment area, all alone, with his head buried in books.
Nearly 10 years after leaving the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to become a professional soccer player, Harvey had some unfinished business to take care of.
“Graduating is something I've always wanted to do,” he told whitecapsfc.com.
Now, after finishing off the last course of his sociology degree just a few weeks ago, the 30-year-old is finally in a position to do that.
“I was so close after I left [UCLA],” said Harvey, who was back in the Los Angeles area this weekend as Vancouver Whitecaps FC took on LA Galaxy. “I was about two quarters away. Being so close, I just had to it. After soccer, I have to do something and having a degree helps.”
Harvey started 54 of 69 appearances over four seasons with the UCLA Bruins. He was part of the first class to win four straight Pac-10 Conference title's in the school's history and that claimed the NCAA College Cup title in 2002.
(Photo courtesy of the UCLA Bruins)
Harvey, who spent four years at UCLA from 2002 to 2005, said he’s been gradually “chipping away” at his degree since he came into the league.
Back when he was a member of Colorado Rapids, he would return to UCLA every offseason to take summer courses.
More recently, he has been taking online courses through the UCLA Extension program. His last class was titled “Sociology of Self and Society.”
“I’ve taken some really cool courses and this last one was a really good one to end on,” said Harvey, adding that he’s probably only four history courses away from being able to double major.
“It really focused on people and self, how you encompass yourself, how you portray yourself through different things like social networking, Facebook, Twitter, and all that stuff.”
Clearly, Harvey has taken notice. He’s active on both Twitter and Instagram (he took over Whitecaps FC's Instagram account this weekend in Los Angeles), in addition to having taken on the role as the new host of Whitecaps FC’s popular “Roommates on the Road” series.
After being away from school for so long, Harvey said it wasn’t easy to get back into the habit of studying and writing papers. His last assignment was a 12-page paper on how people portray their identity through personal websites.
“It was one of the hardest things I had done in a while,” said Harvey, who was quick to credit his fiancée, family, and academic counselor at UCLA for their support along the way. “It’s hard to get back into the school mode. You have to really schedule it out. You go to practice, then come home, and just try to get one thing done after the next.”
Now that he’s all done, Harvey said he’s hoping to get some closure by actually attending his convocation ceremony. He doesn’t know the exact date yet, though it will likely take place at some point in May.
“I want to walk,” he said. “Hopefully I don’t miss out on that.”
And that’s not the only thing he doesn’t want to miss out on.
“There’s this UCLA alumni license plate bracket that I’ve always wanted to get, but I never purchased it because I wanted to wait until I graduated,” he laughed. “Hopefully, in the near future, I can pick one up and put it on my car immediately.”
It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.