By Vern Hee
Try to find a Jan. 14 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine in Pahrump stores and you might be disappointed. They are sold out.
Pahrump Trojans soccer star Sydney Sladek, a junior and lead scorer for the girls soccer team, was honored with an appearance in the national publication. This has left family and friends scrambling for a copy.
Sladek appeared in the magazine’s “Faces in the Crowd section.” This is a section where amateur sports athletes from all over the country submit brief bios and their accomplishments. They are then selected by editors to appear in the section.
Joe Sladek, Sydney’s father and coach, said he submitted all the information to the magazine and they called him about a month later.
“They have this area on their website and I filled it out and then a few weeks, maybe a month later, they contacted us for additional information. Then they interviewed her and we had to send a picture of her,” said Joe.
In the issue, the section talks about Sydney breaking a 13-year-old Nevada single season scoring record with 78 goals. It also discusses how she led the team to victory with two goals at the state final and how she is ranked second in the state in career goals with 132. If that is not enough, it concludes with how Sydney is a Western Region Olympic Development Pool selection. She appears second from the top of six other athletes.
Sydney was surprised by the issue. “The first thing I looked at was the picture. The whole world is looking at that, so I did not want to have a nasty picture. My father has five or six issues sitting on the table sent to him by numerous friends and family members.”
The young athlete is very humble. It is hard for her to talk about her accomplishments.
Sydney has dreams of going to college to play soccer.
Sydney has played the game since the age of seven along with her sister Haley, who is a senior this year. She knows what it will take to go to college.
She has been coached mostly by her father and together they learned the game of soccer all through the AYSO until age nine. This is when Joe started his club soccer team.
The core of the team has played together since the formation of that club team.
The young college hopeful owes her success to those days when she was 9 years old. Her scoring accomplishments and exploits all were forged with her blood, sweat and tears back in those early days. She is now hoping all her hard work will lead her to college.
Joe said several colleges are looking but she has not received any firm offers yet.
“Sydney has visited the University of San Diego and she really likes that school and the coach. UNLV is really interested in her and Northern Arizona is really interested too. A couple of Ivy League schools are interested but they do not have any money to offer her. The Stanford coach saw her play over the weekend and really liked her,” said Joe.
So the pressure of which school to select and where to go is upon her.
“I am looking in southern California and I have an interest in Hawaii and I know that I want to major in medicine. I am thinking orthopedic surgeon or something that has to do with medicine,” she said.
Along with her 4.0 GPA, she is ranked eighth in her class. Keeping those grades up, is pressure enough.
The young soccer sensation has kept up her playing since the regular soccer season ended in November. She has played on several teams, her Players club team, and two others.
One of those teams was the girls Nevada high school team, an all-star team.
“We have a couple of tournaments for our Players team club team . This past weekend I was playing on the state team of Nevada. Now that is overwith. The state team played roughly five games. I actually played under three different coaches and was exposed to three different styles and systems of play. I also guest played for a Hawaii team in Florida,” said Sydney.
The extra playing gets Sydney used to other systems of play other than her own. This is something she will have to get used to once she leaves Pahrump next year.
“That was kind of hard to do because you will have a coach that wants something else playing a different formation. You will have one coach that wants this style of play and they are all different. They all expect different things. All three teams played a different style. It is actually kind of scary going to a new college team because I think of how others will think about me. College play is more demanding and you have to be in a lot better shape than I am now. So it is just a bit scary,” commented Sydney.
For Sydney, the pressure of being the lead scorer for the team never really ends. She said last year after they won the state title the first time, the pressure was the greatest to repeat. Dealing with pressure though is what Sydney does best. It is what she has prepared for all her life.
The worse part of losing to Faith this year was the doubt and the inability to help her team score the crucial points in the 2-1 loss for the division title game. She was under a lot of pressure to score at the end of that game.
“I felt it. I felt a lot of pressure during that game to score. Then after the game is over you feel like it was all your fault, that you did not do anything, but I knew I tried my hardest. I just felt disappointed in myself,” she said.
This disappointment factor will be a driving force for the girls to succeed in Sydney’s senior year.
“As seniors, we want to win the state title. We do not want to be disappointed next year,” remarked Sydney.
Sydney and seven other girls will be seniors and the team will return nine.
Joe said that the girls should not really worry about it. The nine girls returning are veteran hardened players who just keep getting better.
“Some girls are a bit nervous about next year. I keep reminding them. We have nine returning starters. Most of you are a year older, a year faster, a year smarter, a year stronger, so come on. I tell them you just keep your training up you should not worry about it,” Joe said.
Round Mountain Stats
Senior said Melynda scored 22, Shankara 12, Lucero 8, Ginny 9, & Christina 4. Rebounds: Melynda grabbed 17, Shankara 6, Lucero 8, Christina 5 rebounds.