Singapore teen set to sign for Swiss club FC Chiasso
Singapore teen set to sign first-team contract with Swiss second-tier club FC Chiasso
He played the last 12 minutes of a friendly in which his team trounced their opponents 7-0, but it appears Singapore teen Jordan Emaviwe's cameo was enough to convince a Swiss second-tier club to offer him a contract.
If all goes well, Jordan, a St Patrick's School student who has just completed his N levels, could follow in the footsteps of V. Sundram Moorthy in signing a first-team professional contract with a Swiss club.
The national coach featured for then second-division Swiss side FC Basel in the 1988-89 season.
The last Singaporean to play professional football in Europe was Ahmad Hakimputra, who turned out for Hungary's Kaposvari Rakoczi in 2012 and 2013.
Last month, Jordan, 16, who plays for National Football League (NFL) Division 2 side Academy Junior Football, went to Italy for a two-week open trial with three of his teammates at Serie D club ADSP Ciliverghe di Mazzano.
The 1.89m, 81kg central midfielder caught the eye of a scout from FC Chiasso, who are sixth in the 10-team, second-tier Swiss Challenge League.
He was invited to the municipality located at the Italian border, a 45-minute train ride from Milan. There, he played the friendly, which saw Chiasso beat fourth-tier side FC Morbio 7-0.
Chiasso team manager Andrea Maistrello said in an e-mail: "Jordan impressed us with how he plays and his physical potential. He is not 18 years old yet and he is as tall as a goalkeeper.
"We believe that, with proper training, Jordan can become an elite player. The duration of the contract is yet to be defined and it has to be further discussed."
It is understood that the deal is set to be completed when the European football transfer window re-opens in January.
Academy Junior could receive a five-figure transfer fee for the teen, who is also looking to further his studies in Switzerland.
Jordan was born to a Nigerian father who is a goalkeeping coach at a local academy and a Singaporean-Chinese mother who died of cancer in February.
He took up Mandarin as his mother tongue, and attended White Sands Primary School in Paris Ris before moving to St Patrick's.
The Manchester United fan tried out for the National Football Academy when he was 13, but was not selected.
"It feels pretty surreal, but also pretty cool if I sign for a European club with a transfer fee," said Jordan, who joined Academy Junior in 2015 and has scored one goal in five games in this season's NFL before suffering a collarbone injury that has since healed.
"It's something I've always dreamt of. Chiasso may not be a household name here but it's still a European club and a good platform for me...
"I aim to stay and play at Chiasso for a few years to develop before working my way up to the top tier and hopefully get a chance to play in England."
Academy Junior general manager Joe Keiser helped open the door for Jordan with his contacts with Italian clubs such as Ciliverghe.
The 64-year-old American, who has 30 years of experience in coaching youths, said: "Switzerland is ideal because it doesn't have the work permit issues that England has, and it has conscription as well, so they understand what national service is about."
He added that they are looking to take more of their trainees for trials in Europe.
Former national goalkeeper Yakob Hashim, who is active in the local youth football scene as Anza Soccer head coach, feels Jordan can cut it in Europe.
"I have seen him grow from a 10-year-old to become this big, strong player," he said. "He is strong for his age and has a powerful left foot. He can be developed into a better footballer in Europe."
While he grew up wanting to playing for Nigeria like his idol Jon Obi Mikel, Jordan remains open to representing his country of birth.
"If Singapore calls me up first, of course I will take it," he said. "But for now, I still have areas to improve on, such as my pace. I just want to continue learning and working hard to go as far as I can."