MARYSVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — It wasn’t hard for Jordan Anspach to fall in love with football at six years old.

“It was kind of natural,” said Jordan’s father Scott. “When I was growing up, I was an active young kid and played sports and just kind of assumed Jordan would do the same.”

But love, like life and football, can be complicated.

“It’s been a lot of ups and downs over the years,” said Jordan’s mother, Josie. “He’s really had a love-hate relationship with his ears as we call them.”

At six months old, doctors diagnosed Jordan as profoundly deaf.

“He’s our third child, so we noticed that he wasn’t acting like the other kids as far as being alert or spooking to a sound,” Josie explained. “When you have kids with special needs of any kind, I think it just makes you that much more grateful for the experience.”

“We’ve always just kind of come to the agreement that we are not going to treat him differently than anybody else,” Scott added.

So, like many boys in his hometown, Jordan wanted to play high school football for the Marsysville Monarchs.

“We encourage him to participate in anything he wants to do. He just might have to do it in a little different way than some people,” Josie said.

Three seasons ago, American Sign Language interpreter Sarah Koza joined the Anspach team, and as a result, the Marysville football team. She attends just about every practice and every game with Jordan, using sign language in the huddles and from the sidelines.

“She’s always with me,” Jordan said with a smile.

“He doesn’t have to worry about, ‘Does she understand me? Does she know what I’m saying?’” Josie said. “Sarah is awesome.”

“The biggest learning curve was definitely learning all the football terminology,” Sarah explained. “Jordan and I, we just kind of learned it together and we just help each other, quiz each other. We just have to support each other the whole time. It’s really a team effort, so if I do well, he does well.”

Their daily example of teamwork and communication has also translated into success for the entire Marysville team.

“I was a little anxious and a little nervous how I was going to communicate in a sport that relies on a lot of communication,” said Marysville assistant coach and Jordan’s defensive line coach Mike Young, who adds that working with Jordan has made him a better coach. “It’s made me really think about how I approach practices, meetings, games and how I communicate with players.”

Mike said it has also made the Monarch players better teammates.

“Every once in a while we have to shift and move and they will come over and they’ll bump him and tap him to get him to move over. So I think the added responsibility of them taking care of one of their own, for our players, has been a big motivator,” Young explained. “Jordan is an extremely hard worker. He has to at times work harder than his peers just to make sure he understands what I want from him, what the team needs from him, and he doesn’t let anything stand in his way.”

Not even a position change. Jordan has settled into playing strictly defensive line, specifically nose tackle so he can line up directly over the football and see the snap. He used to play on both offense and defense, which was a lot.

“When I was a freshman I played receiver, so right now it’s different. It’s d-line,” he said. “Yeah, it’s hard to change.”

A change he has made successfully, playing in some varsity games this year as a junior.

“I think it’s given him more confidence in all aspects of life,” said his father, Scott. “I’m just proud of him!”

“Yes, a lot of pride,” added his mother, Josie. “Just like, yes! Look at our baby go!”

“I’m his number one fan sometimes. I’m really into the games now! I’ll scream and shout whenever he gets a tackle. I just feel so proud. I just love watching him play in the games,” Sarah said. “Just because you can’t hear doesn’t mean you can’t be a great athlete and Jordan is proof of that.”