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Triple threat: Multi-sport athlete excels on pitch, too
East Union sophomore Jordan Kron is now a bona-fide three-sport varsity athlete, as he anchors the school’s soccer team at center midfield. - photo by Bulletin file photo
East Union High’s Jordan Kron made a splash last year as a freshman athlete making big contributions for the school’s varsity basketball and baseball teams.

Now meet Jordan Kron, the varsity soccer player — one that Clarence Goes, one half of EU’s head-coaching tandem, didn’t know existed.

“I didn’t know much about him at all,” Goes said. “I didn’t know what kind of athlete he was until I saw him play. We didn’t want to bring him up (to varsity) until he was more developed.”

Stoutly put together at 5-foot-7, 167 pounds, the starting center midfielder is a big part of the Lancers’ first-half success in the Valley Oak League. At 7-1, East Union is four points ahead of second-place Sierra — EU’s opponent on Monday — and five ahead of Oakdale.

Some of his already-developed skills on the hardwood and baseball diamond have translated onto the pitch.

Similar to fast breaks in basketball, he leads breakaways up the middle of the field with his head up and peripheral vision scanning for streaking teammates filling passing lanes.

Perhaps his most unique skill, however, is displayed on throw-ins. This is where he shows off his cannonball-launching arms.

In Monday’s big 4-1 win over Manteca, Kron had a season-high three assists — two of which came off throw-ins.

In the second half, Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg had a player stand in front of Kron on throw-ins like one would guarding the in-bounding passer in basketball.

Kron has 11 assists on the season, which lead the team.

“I don’t know what that did, but we had to try something,” Coenenberg said after the game.

Kron has prior soccer experience, playing in the Manteca Area Soccer League and with the Manteca Rangers competitive club before hanging up the cleats in the 7th grade.

His return to the pitch in 2009 was interrupted because of his commitment to USA Baseball’s 14-and-under team in the COPABE Pan Am ‘A’ Championships in Ecuador, forcing him to miss nearly half the frosh-soph soccer season.

“I didn’t necessarily give it up, I didn’t just didn’t have time for it with baseball and basketball getting heavy,” Kron said. “I didn’t want to do it, but we just didn’t have the time and money for it.

“But when I started playing again last year, it made me realize how much I love the game.”

The proof of his passion for all three sports is on his battered body. Goes lauds Kron’s all-out aggressive style, but that can lead to some freak injuries.

In the final minute of the Manteca game, an opposing player came down on Kron’s left knee, which was swollen and discolored after the match. He missed Wednesday’s 5-1 win against Lathrop and Thursday’s practice, but he insists he’ll be fine for the big game against Sierra.

Injuries are nothing new to Kron.

Last year, he suffered a concussion in the final frosh-soph soccer game of the season, a severely sprained ankle that sidelined him for five basketball games and tendinitis in his throwing arm limited his role in the latter half of the baseball season.

Kron plays through the pain, though. He loves the challenge, as if being undersized and younger than everyone else on the playing field isn’t a big enough hurdle to begin with.

And with all the hype surrounding his talents in basketball and baseball, he also enjoys the reaction people have when they find out that he plays soccer.

“I still believe people at school don’t think I’m a soccer player,” he said. “They’re like, ‘No way!’ Some of them like to poke fun and call me a ‘grass fairy.’

“They can say all they want; we’re in first place right now and we’re going to keep working hard to stay there.”