What’s possible when two individuals with the support of family, coaches and each other power through adversity to reach a milestone in their sport? Both Sydney and Sinclaire Miramontez know firsthand, as they received invitations to the U.S. Women’s National Team Training Camp and played side by side for the University of Nebraska Women’s Soccer Team. Now the pair plays together for the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL), GSI Pride.
Sydney, a former University of Nebraska women’s soccer standout, was one of 30 players selected to take part in the U23 U.S. Women’s National Team Training Camp held Jan. 6-13 in Carsen, Calif. Sinclaire, a rising sophomore on the Nebraska women’s soccer team and a member of the 2016 Big Ten All-Freshman Team, attended the U19 U.S. Women’s National Team Training Camp from March 25-April 1 in Sunrise, Fla. Sinclaire was one of 26 players who received an invitation and one of two college players.
It is clear when visiting with the duo that they are both very humble and grateful for their opportunities.
“It wasn’t on my radar to receive the invitation,” stated Sydney, “but there were world-class players and coaches in attendance and I came away with confidence.”
As natives of Lenexa, Kan., the dynamic duo played next to each other in high school, both as doubles partners in tennis and as defenders in soccer matches. Last season as Nebraska Husker soccer defenders, the two again played side by side – Sydney bringing her excellent ball distribution and Sinclaire bringing her natural attacking instinct.
When asked about standout college soccer moments from last season Sydney beamed as she recounted her best memory.
“I didn’t know that Sinclaire was starting for Nebraska until I read a pre-game tweet and I was so excited.”
With the sisters anchoring the back line for the Huskers last season, their chemistry helped to propel the team into the NCAA tournament.
“This has been one of the best experiences,” Sinclaire said. “We worked well together and not many people can say they played beside their sister.”
For Sydney, this marked her second appearance in four years in the NCAA tournament. She earned second-team All-Big Ten recognition and third-team All-Great Lakes Region honors after leading the team with seven assists.
Since graduation, Sidney has had a whirlwind of soccer opportunities and gives credit to Husker head coach John Walker for his guidance.
“I made a decision my senior year to be in the moment,” she said. That philosophy led Sydney to accept an invitation from FC Kansas City.
Although FC Kansas City’s roster was set, Sydney became one of six reserves.
“The FC Kansas City environment is incredible,” Sydney added. “It is an honor to practice with the veteran players who are willing to mentor you and you are able to listen to their journey.”
Sidney is also quick to mention FC Kansas City head coach Vlatko Andonovski.
“There is a calmness to his coaching style and he has the same passion as a professional coach that he had as a club coach,” she said.
As both girls continue to work on all aspects of their game, being a member of the GSI Pride this summer allows the girls to continue their player development while surrounding themselves with quality talent and superb coaching. They both echo the same excitement to be on the ground floor of a team that can add to the already strong Kansas City soccer community.
Sydney was quick to acknowledge that although the family always questioned the girly girl, hair-bow-sporting Sinclaire’s soccer ability, she is definitely the toughest of her three sisters. The tough gene became apparent at a Pride practice, as Sinclaire received an elbow that knocked out her two front teeth.
“I am lucky that our dentist is a family friend and was able to fix my teeth at 9 p.m.,” laughed Sinclaire.
Playing for the Pride, head coach Huw Williams is nothing new to the girls.
“Huw continues to inspire me with his love for the game and his soccer knowledge,” Sinclaire said. “At his youth camps, he brings individual club players together no matter what their background and he creates an excitement for soccer.”
The sister act was in agreement about the influence their Shawnee Mission West high school coach and former Kansas University goalkeeper Sarah Gonzalez has had on their careers.
“Sarah is the first female coach I have ever had,” Sydney said. “You develop an emotional relationship with a female coach that is different than a male. She leveled me out and had some tough conversations with me. She could relate as a female soccer player because she had been through similar experiences.”
During Sydney’s career at S.M. West, she totaled 52 goals and 52 assists, was a runner-up for the Kansas Gatorade Player-of-the-Year award, four-time first-team All-Sunflower League pick, All-Sunflower League Offensive Player of the Year in 2011, and honored on the NSCAA All-Region team in 2011 and 2012. She left the Lady Vikings with multiple school records, including career goals, career assists, season assists (25) and points in a season (59).
Sinclaire also had a similar success story during her tenure as a Lady Viking. She tallied 11 career goals and added 20 assists. She was named a first-team All-American by TopDrawerSoccer.com in 2016. In addition, she was named first-team All-Sunflower League Defense on three occasions, first-team all-state defense twice, Sunflower League Defender of the Year in 2015 and Wendy’s High School Heisman School Winner in 2015.
There is a definite bond between the two and in the sibling world, that bond is more enduring than a medal or trophy. It is evident with Sidney’s story of her favorite high school memory:
“Sinclaire’s first high school goal came from one of my assists – and it was on her birthday!”
Although the girls took a different youth path to get to their college soccer offers, one thing is for sure: Their parents and older sister played a vital role. The girls watched their sister navigate the soccer world and with her input and the guidance of her parents, they were able to make the important decisions that would lead them to the next level.
“I look at my parents. My dad is the hardest worker and he is very grounded. My mom plays off that and they both want us to always remember where we came from,” said Sydney.
Navigating the youth soccer world can be difficult but both girls agree to trust the process.
As the summer comes to a close what can we expect from the duo? Sinclaire will return to Lincoln to continue her contribution to the Husker Women’s Soccer program.
“My goal is to be on the FC Kansas City roster,” Sydney said. “Life can happen so fast and I am enjoying the journey.”