Getting to know. . . Jordan Garrick
27th October 2016
As part of our Swans Academy content, we speak to an upcoming talent within the youth ranks at the club.
Next in our in-depth interview is under-23s striker Jordan Garrick, who talks about switching from rugby league to football, waiting in the wings and how his career nearly never happened.
Jordan Garrick smiles as he recalls a key moment in his young career.
"My Sunday League football manager was very insistent for me not to quit football," he says.
"It was good advice, because if I had not listened, I would have quit the game for good and would definitely not be here today."
Garrick, 19, arrived at Swansea City's Academy 12 months ago from Northern Premier Division One side Ossett Albion.
Only a year earlier, he had contemplated abandoning football in favour of rugby league.
Such was the promise he showed at Ossett - who play in the eighth tier of the national system - that Jamaica-born Garrick had already played for the first team by the time the Swans came calling.
A move to SA1 soon yielded more success for the forward, as he celebrated his first start for the under-18s with an impressive brace against Manchester United in March before scoring for the U19 side whilst on tour in South Africa a few weeks later.
"It has been a crazy year, so much has happened for me in the last 12 months," Garrick adds.
"I loved my time at Ossett, it gave me great opportunities, but signing for the Swans was a great moment for me in my career.
"Football is full of fine margins. If I had taken the advice of another person it could have been so different for me."
Just a few months before signing for the Swans, the teenager was playing rugby league and training with former Super League side Bradford Bulls.
At that stage, he was considering abandoning football to concentrate on the oval-ball game.
"I think because I am an athletic person, I am lucky enough to be quite good at a number of sports," he says.
"I started playing rugby when I was 16 and found that I had a bit of a gift for the game on the wing because of my speed.
"The rugby coach at my college was also coaching at Bradford Bulls and he invited me to go and train with them. Things just went from there.
"In the space of a few weeks my main focus in sport had become rugby rather than football.
"The Bulls were very interested in signing me and at the time I was very tempted as I knew it would be a great route into professional sport, so I almost dropped football and went down the rugby league route.
"In the end I was swayed to stick with what I had started with by my football coach and my mum."
Even when he was playing rugby league, Garrick's love for football remained.
He played with the ball at his feet whilst at Huddersfield College, and it was his efforts for them which attracted Ossett's attention.
"They saw I was athletic and had good pace with the ball," he says.
"By my second year I was playing for the college academy side.
"From there I was picked up by Ossett Albion and that set me on the path to Swansea City and where I am at today."
Garrick's flirtation with another sport en route to SA1 is not uncommon with many young players.
He insists the experience only helped his career, with his skills in rugby coming in handy on the football pitch.
"Anyone who has watched rugby league knows you need that good step inside and change of pace down the wing to be a good player," he says.
"I was lucky to have that in my game.
"My pace and skill with my feet were part of the reason why coaches from both sports were interested in me. I think that is the main thing I have transferred from rugby league back into football.
"The physicality of rugby league is much more intense, so that was something that gave me an advantage when I came back to football.
"I think that gave me an edge over some players who were older than me in non-league."
With the Bradford Bulls and rugby league now fully behind him, Garrick's full focus is on making it as far as he can with Swansea City's development squad in the coming years.
"I've really enjoyed my time with the Swans," he says.
"I managed to score eight goals in 10 games for the under-18s last season.
"Now I have taken the step up to the under-23s, it has taken things to another level.
"It has been a challenging season for me so far, but one I am learning from.
"So far I've had game-time against Newcastle in the Premier League Cup before featuring in the win over Feyenoord in the International Cup and I hope to push for more chances soon.
"I am working hard off the pitch to improve myself so when I get the next chance I am in the best shape possible.
"The last twelve months has been amazing for me. I've gone from playing sides like Ramsbottom United to Feyenoord. This is football. I just have to keep working hard and hope things keep moving forward positively for me in the coming year."