Jack Metcalf has been a fan favorite since signing with San Diego Loyal before the start of their inaugural season. His popularity has continued to grow ever since.
Known for his beautiful crosses into the box, the native of Liverpool, England, played his college career at the University of Clemson before signing with Charlotte Independence of USL League.
Metcalf, who turned 30 on Christmas Day, played for two seasons there before joining Bangor City FC of the Welsh second division in 2017. The current Loyal then moved back to the States joining Atlanta United 2, where he played in 2018 and 2019, starting in 31 games during his final season.
It seemed that Metcalf was destined to a successful career in athletics, as his father was a professional boxer and both his brother and cousin were professional fighters as well. However, he chose the beautiful game of soccer over the sweet science, and it seems to have been the right choice.
His 2021 season with San Diego Loyal was cut short, however, when Metcalf broke his clavicle in four places after a hard foul during the match against LA Galaxy II on August 1. The injury required seven screws inserted into his shoulder and forced Metcalf to miss the second half of the season.
“I’ve watched it a few times, and at first, it was quite tough to watch, to be honest,” Metcalf said. “Those things happen. I don’t think he necessarily meant to injure me. Obviously, I didn’t see him coming, and he ran through the back of me, but those things happen in football, and I would never hold it against him.”
Here is our conversation with Jack Metcalf as he prepares to be ready to go as his team takes the pitch on February 5 for their first preseason game against New Mexico United.
Metcalf was cleared to start training at the end of last season, as the team was heading into their playoff match against San Antonio FC and is currently in England training in preparation for their first opponent.
Q: Did the rehab and surgery go as expected?
A: “Definitely a long process. It’s been now five months out. The first couple of months were just post-surgery typical stuff getting use of my should back. You know, obviously, stuff to help with the pain, all that type if stuff, but since about September and October time I was just working on my fitness, trying every single day getting work on my shoulder with Paulina (Maldonado) and Chris (Jeanfreau) they did a great job getting me back to where I am now.”
Q: So you’ve had a chance to visit family during the off-season as you get ready for coming back to play?
A: “Yes, it kind of just worked out perfect with the offseason. I usually come home for Christmas for a week or two, but this year obviously, with being injured, it worked out. Clubs in England are in season, so managed to get a week of training so far and will have another week or so and then head back to San Diego for preseason. I will head back about January 14th or 15th to give me a little bit of time before we start preseason camp. Still, I think there are a lot of guys who are heading back to San Diego right now, like Charlie (Adams). He was in England for Christmas and other guys who went to different systems to see family, I think”.
Q: Have you met any of the recent players the team has signed, including a couple of players from New Zealand?
A: “One of the players (Kyle Adams) we are quite familiar with because he was at the Real Monarchs, and the other player (Nikko Boxall) has been overseas for six or seven years, I think. They are two great additions to the squad. I’ve heard only good things from the people around the league. I’m excited for them to join us, and I’m sure there will be a few more announcements this week and next as well”.
Q: If I’m not mistaken, Nikko Boxall has made appearances for the New Zealand national team as well?
A: “Yes, and that’s a great level. I think he’s been in Scandinavia for a while, and that’s also a great level, so someone who can come in and definitely help us with his experience.”
Q: What will it be like not having the team’s first-ever signing and former captain Sal Zizzo on the pitch or on the sidelines now that he’s retired?
A: “He’s a great person and was a fantastic leader for us for the first two seasons. I mean, he’s been around so long and played at the highest levels, so we’re definitely going to miss him. Miss him around the locker room as well. He was always one of the funnier ones. No one can speak highly enough of him. He’s fantastic, so we’ll definitely feel his loss.”
Q: Have you finally gotten a chance to try the California Burrito yet, and what are your thoughts?
A: “Of course. I mean, who can’t love them. I actually live close to Taco Stand, and in a minute walk, I can actually get myself a nice California burrito. I’ve probably had one too many during the offseason, but they’re great.”
Q: What do you have to say to the fans as the team gets ready for 2022?
A: “I think the last couple of years have been massive for us to learn, and we’ve learned so much in those two seasons with everything we’ve gone through. To hit one if our goals last year to make playoffs but then to finish so early, it hurt a lot of the players, and a lot of the staff felt that loss. As much as we’re still feeling it, we’re take and use that energy for next season, and I think, with some of the additions we’re going to bring in, it’s going to be an exciting time, and the fans will definitely be excited by the group of returners but also the additions that we’ve announced and that are still to be announced, so it’s going to be a fun one.”