One of The Leadership Initiative's "pioneers" returned to share some valuable insight with her former club mates. Syd Stephens, 2002 ECNL Team and current freshman at the University of Georgia, spoke to just under 200 SLSG girls via Zoom about her first several months in college. "I hit the wall, I hit it hard" Stephens said. Stephens was referring to the process: hard work, overcoming injury, mixed messages from coaches, some successes on the field, overcoming mono, and finally the realization that "in struggle there was learning."
"I was told I was doing really well, but then I wouldn't play, like at all. And that was really hard and confusing. But I realized that if I would just breathe, and take notice of what my teammates were feeling, what seniors were saying and how they were treating others, I could help them, I could contribute. I realized that I had a lot to learn and it didn't matter if I was on the field or off the field, I still have a lot to learn."
Syd, as a 10 year member of SLSG, was always known for her willingness to spend time with the younger player. "I always looked up to the older players when I was growing up in the club. They taught me a lot. I just wanted to give the players younger than me someone they could go to or learn from our just have fun with. I considered it my responsibility to be someone the younger players could watch and learn how to act or come to if they were having a tough day. Honeslty, I'm still here for the younger players of the club."
Syd, who was recently added to the University's Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Group, will begin the second half of her freshman season next week said, "I don't regret any of my actions in the fall. I don't regret having to go through that process, because if I didn't go through a rough patch, I wouldn't have learned and grown or have become the person or player that I am today. And I'm really looking forward to learning more as part of this process."