Thornton signs with Duquesne
ONA -- Sitting at a table surrounded by family and coaches and addressing an assembly of her friends, Cabell Midland High School senior Jorden Thornton recalled her early years of playing soccer when she was about 4.
She talked about twirling around on the pitch and looking at the flowers, while her parents encouraged her to pay attention to the game.
"I've become a bit more serious about it," Thornton said with a grin in Cabell Midland's auditorium Wednesday morning..
Thornton, a defender, signed a National Letter of Intent at the assembly to play soccer for Duquesne University.
The Dukes are in the Atlantic 10 Conference, along with the likes of Xavier, Richmond and Rhode Island. The school itself is a Catholic institution located in Pittsburgh.
Thornton's choice was equal parts athletic and academic, she said.
"It was a very long, very tiring process," she said after the signing. "I started my freshman year, looking at schools, what do I want in a school, and I figured out I wanted to study physical therapy, and I started looking for schools that would fit that around my sophomore year.
"At first, I was really ambitious. I was like, 'Yeah, UNC Tarheels,'" Thornton said. "But then I settled down and looked at what was best for me, and Duquesne fit that. It's a six-year doctorate program and that was the main goal of this."
The soccer part fit in perfectly, Thornton said.
"The coaches seemed to like me, and the program seemed to have its head on straight, and so that's how it happened," she said.
A-10 country is where Thornton has been spending a lot of time lately, playing club soccer for the Richmond Strikers. She opted not to play for Cabell Midland her junior and senior years, instead focusing on travel team play in soccer and running cross country for her school.
"I love this school and it's not because I didn't want to play for Midland," Thornton said. "The Richmond Strikers just really allowed me to branch out and take things further."
Thornton also spent some time playing for the West Virginia Soccer Club Rowdies, which is producing several 2013 recruits from the area.
Thornton thanked all of her former coaches, her friends and her parents for the sacrifices they made so she could get to this level.
But parents Joe and Karen Thornton pointed out their daughter is the one who gave up so much for this opportunity.
"She's extremely modest when she talks about how difficult this journey has been," Karen Thornton said. "She was sort of hesitant to even do this today, but we told her she deserved this."
"She's sacrificed a lot for this, we just drove her around," Joe Thornton said. "The thing I'm most proud of is that she's just a great kid."