Louisiana is a true soccer hotbed that has produced a multitude of world-class players. Two of
the very best are MLS standouts Patrick Mullins and Andrew Tarbell.
Mullins, a New Orleans, LA native, has played for some of the biggest brands in MLS in his six
seasons. He has appeared in a staggering 123 matches, tallying 26 goals in 61 starts. And
Mullins is expected to be a key cog in Toronto FC’s attack in 2020. Mullins was a two-time
Hermann Trophy award winner as the nation’s top college player while at the University of
Maryland. Mullins also earned First Team All-America, Soccer America Player of the Year,
First Team All-ACC, and All-ACC Championship Most Valuable Player honors during his
Tarbell, who hails from Mandeville, LA, has enjoyed four successful seasons with the San Jose
Earthquakes. He has appeared in 41 games (40 starts), accumulating 128 saves and three
shutouts. He received NSCAA Second Team All-America and All-ACC Team honors while at
Clemson and signed a Generation adidas contract before being selected in the MLS SuperDraft.
Both Mullins and Tarbell share a lot in common. The most important is the fact that they both
are products of the New Orleans Jesters. The Jesters feature an NPSL team and an academy
program. The New Orleans Jesters Youth Academy has been in existence for seven years and
has nearly 300 academy players and nine coaches. They have partnered with Carrollton
Boosters, a local recreational program, that has 2,400 registrations annually.
Jourdan Schumacher, a product of the New Orleans Jesters Youth Academy, is shaping up to be
the next great player from the region, having recently signed with the Jesters first team at the
young age of 17. The goalkeeper is an important signing for the club according to Jesters GM
“Signing academy players to the NPSL provides a model system similar to what is done around
the world and it illustrates our commitment to local talent,” Farrell said. “Local players need an
end goal – they need something to aspire to – and the very real, tangible opportunity to sign with
the NPSL gives them the motivation to keep playing, keep training, and to step it up to the next
level. New Orleans Jesters Youth Academy provides the opportunity for a player to progress
through our recreational program, move onto the academy, and successfully join the NPSL
Signing with the NPSL team was a special moment for Schumacher, who aspires to play
Division I college soccer and eventually professionally in Europe.
“It’s an incredible opportunity,” Schumacher said. “I’ve been telling myself ‘I will get on this
team’ for six years and it’s finally happening. It’s my way of thanking my coaches, teammates,
and everyone who has pushed me to my limits in every aspect of life.”
It’s obvious that Schumacher’s hard work at the academy has paid off in a big way.
“Personally, it’s been my dream to be able to play for the first team,” Schumacher said. “It didn’t
hit me until two days after I met with Coach. It’s going to open up a lot of windows of
opportunity for me. I look forward to what I am going to be able to gain from this experience.”
The fact that Schumacher has been chosen to move up to the first team shows how far he has
“Jourdan started in the Carrollton Boosters recreational program at six years old and has been
with the academy program since he was ten years old,” Farrell said. “Jourdan has stayed focused
on his development and goals. He has had the benefit of strong leadership from his family and
the exposure to a high level of coaching within the academy program. Those factors, coupled
with his own ability to weed out the fog, have led him to this point.”
Playing in the NPSL will give the young goalkeeper an opportunity to train with and compete
against some of the top players in the entire country. Farrell say that it is an opportunity that
should serve him well.
“The opportunity to train with and compete against players at the NPSL level simply cannot be
matched,” Farrell said. “It prepares a young player like Jourdan for either college level play or
the pro game. Many of our Jesters are already playing DI college soccer and some have made
the move to MLS. The Jesters, for example, picked up Patrick Mullins at 17 years old. Mullins
has won back-to-back Hermann Trophies and has played in two MLS finals. Playing in the
NPSL has been a major component in his development and it will do the same for Jourdan and
Schumacher is confident that he will benefit from the experience.
“I’m expecting to gain experience in all categories of the game: physicality, speed of play,
strength, skill and confidence,” Schumacher said. “As I understand it, I’m coming in as the
youngest player on the team. I’m going to have to prove to everyone that I can hold my own
against anyone. This is going to kick my butt, but I’ll be able to handle it.”
Farrell obviously thinks Schumacher can handle the challenge and could follow in the footsteps
of another talented Jesters goalkeeper.
“I can see Jourdan following a similar path as former Jester goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell, who
started on a developmental squad and went on to take the number one spot by the time he was
just 18 years old,” Farrell said. “Andrew went on to play in the NCAA National Championship
game for Clemson University and was a first-round Major League Soccer draft pick for the San
Jose Earthquakes. He now has a successful career in MLS after a very successful college career.
For Jourdan, the ball is in his court. He has earned the opportunity.”
And Schumacher is determined to make the most of it, using the opportunity to grow as a player.
“In this endeavor, I am driven to develop my skills in the goalkeeping position,” Schumacher
said. “I am focused on working on my performance, mentality, strength, positioning, and
reflexes. I see this as an opportunity to improve my overall conditioning, and my level of play
by developing strengths against, and with more experienced players.”
Remember the name Jourdan Schumacher as he is definitely a player to watch for in the NPSL’s
new Gulf Coast Conference.