By Bob Narang

CHICAGO – Izy Scott is in a different leadership position these days, far from the days as a leading figure on the soccer field at Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, Ill.

The soon-to-be University of Texas graduate is now one of the many leaders a part of a growing team with a different goal: To help run and organize the PepsiCo Showdown Series, an organization that uses the power of sport to make a difference on and off the field for 1,000s of student athletes each and every year throughout the U.S.

As Scott stood in a hallway on a cold January afternoon at The Max in McCook, Ill. directing a lifesize player photo shoot that featured girls soccer and track athletes, it was hard not to have flashbacks to her high school playing days.

“I remember seeing my lifesize player poster during the PepsiCo Showdown when I was in high school,” Scott said. “It was a big milestone in my career, confirming all the hard work that I put in.

“It’s different being on the other side now, watching the girls and seeing the excitement and nervousness over getting their photos taken. It’s nice to now be involved helping the younger student athletes. I’ve realized I grew up into adulthood with the PepsiCo Showdown in my life.”

Upon graduation, Scott will continue her association with the PepsiCo Showdown by starting her career with PepsiCo in Minneapolis. She interned for the massive company last summer in Milwaukee.

“The PepsiCo Showdown had a big impact on my life,” Scott said. “It was a pivotal change in my life, both personally and career-wise.”

Faith Davies (Glenbard East/Eastern Illinois University) admits that she never realized the massive scope of running PepsiCo Showdown events during her high school career.

“Being on the other side is a whole different experience,” Davies said. “You get to see what goes on behind the scenes.

“In high school, we were making memories and not really thinking of all the work and moving parts that goes into that experience. It’s cool now, because I’m helping the PepsiCo Showdown that gave me so much. I hope I can help the student athletes create lifelong memories and experiences.”

Gabi Chavez (Romeoville/North Central College) admits that it’s a strange experience to move from the playing field to a leader off the field directing different events and charity efforts.

“The PepsiCo Showdown was the biggest thing I looked forward to come each season,” Chavez said. “Now that I’m on the other side directing and leading things with the PepsiCo Showdown, I’m able to see how much work, time and effort – as well as ideas – are necessary. We’re all working hard to make it even better than it was the year before.”

Azury Sanchez (Solorio Academy/Moraine Valley) still cherishes the opportunities the PepsiCo Showdown gave her from competing against schools from different areas to creating opportunities for her to donate time or items for those in need.

“It’s definitely hard work behind the scenes,” Sanchez said. “We used to just show up and play in high school, but now I see the background and all the work everyone does. There’s nothing better than doing something good to help the student athletes and all the schools through all the different events on and off the field.”

Bio On The Reporter: Bob Narang has been covering prep recruiting and sports for the past 25 years. His work also appears in the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald, Athlon Sports and the Daily Chronicle.