There are no easy goals: the timing of each is inextricably, maddeningly bound up in the doings of others.
But there could be no harder goal than the biggest marker scored by the newest member of Toronto FC, 17-year old Jordan Hamilton.
The club announced the signing of the former academy player on Friday, bolstering what is already a swelling group of attacking players.
Hamilton scored Canada’s first goal in a 2-2 draw with Austria in their opening group stage match at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Dubai in October of 2013.
Hamilton took to the field a year to the day after his Mother’s godson, Julian Lee, was a murder victim in Scarborough.
His grandfather, Edsel Hamilton, had died a few months before of cancer. Jordan Hamilton was training with the national team when his grandfather passed. A friend held up a cellphone and Jordan watched his mother recite his grandfather’s eulogy to his family.
“I got through it by just giving everything to my team,” he said. “My Mom video called me while the reception was going on and put the camera on the ceremony and then she read my speech which was very hard for me to watch.”
“It doesn’t matter what’s going on in life, the big relief for footballers, once you cross the line and get on that field everything else is forgotten,” said Jim Brennan, who coached Hamilton at the TFC Academy. “You express yourself and you play the game that you love. Jordan is no different. Once he gets onto that pitch he just wants to play.”
Despite his tender age the newest TFC player has endured and persevered. He picked up the game when he was just two years old and has moved steadily up the ranks through the national soccer program.
He made his debut for Canada as a 14-year-old and won a silver medal for Canada at the 2011 CONCACAF Under-17 championship in Jamaica. Another medal, this one a bronze, came at the 2013 CONCACAF Men’s Under 17 championship in Panama.
Hard times have done nothing but sharpen Hamilton’s resolve.
“I’m very happy for the opportunity to play for Toronto FC,” he said. “I feel it’s just the beginning and I have a lot more to give in my career.”
“I always reach for my goals and I know the people who love me are proud of me. That’s what I want to do with my life: reach my goals and make my family proud.”