Crete-Monee often flies under the radar in the soccer world, but the Warriors have built a highly-successful program under former player and now coach Kathy Siefert.
Senior defender Sydney Kent has experienced a lot of winning during her four-year run at the South Suburban school. The Warriors have won three consecutive Southland Athletic Conference titles and finished 16-6 in 2017.
Expectations are even higher this season.
“We only lost two seniors from last year, so we have almost the whole team back and we’re excited,” Kent said. “We’ll be really strong defensively. We have a lot of tall, strong girls in the back and as long as we communicate, we’re really good at getting the ball out.”
Kent began playing soccer when she was 6 years old, but had to give it up for a couple years after she turned 13.
“My brother did travel baseball, and my parents didn’t want to do both that and soccer,” Kent said. “So I stopped playing until I got to high school.
“I definitely missed it. I love everything about soccer. It allows me to show all my skills.”
In her final high school season, Kent is hoping the Warriors can start to attract some attention – especially within their own school community.
“No one really comes to our games, but we’re getting better and better every year,” Kent said. “I’m telling people they need to come out and watch us. I’m hoping people will see that Crete-Monee isn’t just about football and basketball, but every single sport matters.”
When it comes to getting noticed, Kent loves that the Warriors play in the annual PepsiCo Showdown, which is the largest high school soccer tournament in the U.S.
“The (PepsiCo Showdown) gives us a lot of exposure and lets people know more about Crete-Monee,” Kent said. “A lot of people don’t have any idea where Crete is, and this helps put us on the radar with a lot of different teams.”
Kent and Co. also have embraced the idea of giving back. The team makes weekly visits to local elementary schools throughout the year.
“A lot of our players go in and read to the kids,” Kent said. “I’m better at math, so I go and help out in the math classes. It’s a lot of fun.”