Jesse Daley has no problem getting in your face. Tough, gritty, determined – Daley isn’t going to let some T2 (what is a T2, anyways?), or Lights, or Phoenix, or Monarch interfere with his end goal. He’ll win the battle of ambition every time.
If you’re a friend, he’s right there telling you how much he enjoys you. Just look at his passion when his teammates score. He wills the success of his friends into being.
Over his two years with Tacoma Defiance, Jesse has become fully dedicated to this community. Puget Sound is part of his being now. He seeks out ways to meet fans and learn about what makes us tick. What makes us the people of the Sound.
This is a man whose presence is strongly felt, sometimes too much. He fouls a bit much, earns deserved yellows, and will tolerate no foolishness.
In the locker room, his passion is unrivaled. His voice is strong enough that wearing an armband is unnecessary. He’s a captain without the rank.
His playing style is Defiantly Tacoma personified.
As one of the deeper midfielders, Daley does not enter the attack often. He is part of the supporting cast, rather than a glamourous attacking player, and it suits him. He puts in the work no one else will to advance the ball. There’s a lunch pail attitude to his performances when the ball at his feet.
No glory – just work and grind, with a blue collar and no need for anything fancy.
Those moments when eyes do turn his way are a combination of timing and good fortune. His assists, goals, and attacking ideas (it was his vision that created the fastest goal in USL history) contribute directly to results, and that’s all that matters.
You can find Jesse in middle of the action. When the opposing team is flowing forward, Daley is going to stick himself in the way. No team is going to overlook him. That might be because he fouls a lot. That’s part of the curse about being a hard tackler. However, he doesn’t foul as often as he is fouled.
His play, however, is never callous. After the hard tackles, even after the fouls, he shakes hands with the other side. There is no intent to injure. He just wants the ball back and he’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.
There are bigger soccer players, faster soccer players, more nimble soccer players… pretty much anyway you can assess the athleticism of a soccer player, Jesse Daley will not be in the top half of that player pool.
Except heart, and effort – he’s in the 99th percentile there. Through sheer force of will, he succeeds. If he needs bootstraps to lift himself up, he’ll find some scraps and friends, and they’ll build a bootstrap-making machine together.
20 starts | 4 sub appearances | 1,664 minutes | 2 goals | 2 assists | 8 shots | 25 key passes
Off the Pitch
There’s a warmth in Jesse’s smile. He seeks fans out, greets them. He’s thrilled to meet his neighbors and relishes in the small-town vibe that Tacoma still carries into the 21st century. Where Tacoma gathers along the Cheney Stadium rails, you’ll find Daley shaking hands like a statesman that everyone likes.
Like so many of Defiance, he has an affinity for youth. He’s participated in South Sound reading events and was part of the roster that helped open the SeaTac-Burien mini-pitch.
Looking to 2020
Daley simply finds his way onto the pitch. The proverbial glue-guy puts forward the type of effort in practice and matches that coaches cannot ignore it. While he is best as a defensive midfielder, he willingly plays where the coaches put him. Don’t be surprised if he plays all central midfield roles, on the right wing, or maybe even at right back in 2020. There’s a reason the only time he missed being in the 18 in 2019 was when he was suspended.
The combination of utility and spirit is indispensable. Coach Little will lean on the now-seasoned veteran because Jesse Daley grasps his own destiny and lifts others up while doing so. Sometimes by their shirt collars.
For more on Jesse Daley and your 2020 Tacoma Defiance roster:
- The Fastest Oral History for the Fastest USL Goal
- Here From a Land Down Under
- Leadership by Committee
- Nucleus of Defiance Roster Returns for 2020
- Tacoma Defiance Signs Four to New Contracts
The 2020 schedule is out – Mapping Defiance: Tacoma’s 2020 Campaign.