Week 1 Student-Athlete Spotlight: Jordan Genmark-Heath, Cathedral Catholic
The moment of greatest impact in Jordan Genmark Heath’s time on Manchester Field isn’t happening under the lights.
Switch 8:00 PM for AM. Replace foggy nights with marine layer days, and the buzzing crowd with chirping birds awakening the world.
And there’s a monkey on the field.
"What’s your favorite monkey?" he says as the pass whirls by.
"Squirrel monkey," Thomas says, gleefully.
Then the acting begins. The football field doubles as a jungle, apparently.
"Jordan working with Thomas is such an example of what we want our students to represent," Megan Burton said. She runs the Options program, the group that pairs groups like Jordan and Thomas together. "What I love most is seeing Thomas smile."
"It’s like a buddy system for kids with disabilities," Genmark Heath said. "We go to class with them and study with them."
Genmark Heath can share in the experience of having a hard time in society. Behind his chisled look, three star profile that is attracting attention from Power 5 schools, you can miss the fact that a man who speaks so comfortably…speaks English as a second language.
"They get fooled by how I speak," Genmark Heath chuckles.
That’s because he came to America by way of Sweden.
That’s right, Sweden.
"I was part of the Swedish national team," Genmark Heath said. "I fell in love with football from the first hit."
With only 3,000 in the youth program, Genmark Heath advanced quickly. He was a starting quarterback on the national squad at just 15.
Coming to the United States as a diamond in the rough meant the Cathedral staff could mold him as they felt. So now he can do anything they ask – he plays free safety, receiver, running back, kick return – and in a nice callback to his soccer fueled European days, he can punt a little, too.
"I can safely say that he’s one of the best – if not the best – secondary free safety we’ve had here," Cathedral defensive coordinator John Montali said.