FORT MYERS, Fla. – In the event you have a look out into the stands at Pickering Discipline, there may be one group which will catch your eye. About 15 persons are all wearing inexperienced shirts with a bitmoji on the entrance. In the event you do not acknowledge who it’s, the identify “Clark” and quantity 29 on the again provide the reply.
Syniah Clark is a graduate pupil defender for the FGCU ladies’s soccer workforce from Cape Coral and she or he could be very grateful that she will be able to play in entrance of so many family and friends. It is virtually arduous to imagine that she practically gave all of it up 4 years in the past.
“I needed to play school soccer after I was youthful and even up till my freshman and sophomore 12 months of highschool, however I do not know what modified, I simply thought perhaps it isn’t for me,” mentioned Clark.
After not being recruited a lot in highschool, particularly throughout her vital junior 12 months, she stopped making an attempt to be recruited and stopped contacting packages. A couple of Division III coaches reached out, however she determined that was not the trail for her.
Wanting to remain near residence, she enrolled at FGCU in Fall of 2017 and spent your complete 12 months as only a common pupil. No coaching, no exercises, no video games. Simply faculty.
After spending a 12 months as a full-time pupil, Clark nonetheless had some soccer left in her, so she performed for the Dutch Lions, a neighborhood summer time league membership in Fort Myers that on the time featured two Eagles, Zoey Spitzer and Kara Kyramarios.
Heading into the 2018 season, head coach Jim Blankenship was seeking to fill a spot on the protection and went to look at the Lions, however at first his consideration was not on Syniah. Because of Kyramarios and Spitzer, that modified shortly.
“By way of our gamers, they beneficial Syniah,” mentioned Blankenship. “Hey when you like that lady, this lady is manner higher.”
Fortunately for Blankenship, Clark’s mindset about enjoying school soccer had additionally begun to alter. She had emailed the teaching employees, asking if there was a spot on the workforce.
“It was a type of conditions the place the gem falls in your lap. She’s already in school right here, she needs to play, now we have a spot, she play’s that place. Why not give her an opportunity?”
Apart from her fellow Eagles on the Dutch Lions, she solely knew one different participant on the workforce, Holly Fritz, a fellow Cape Coral native, however somebody that Clark had not performed with since center faculty. Whereas most student-athletes, particularly in ladies’s soccer, commit early and construct relationships with their fellow classmates and even present gamers, whether or not it’s by means of textual content, social media, or recruiting visits, she returned to campus for her sophomore 12 months having simply joined the workforce a couple of weeks prior, and knew that preseason coaching was going to be key to constructing these relationships.
Day one went positive. Day two, she ended up within the hospital.
Clark collapsed on the sphere throughout coaching and ended up being out for a few weeks, unable to any soccer-related actions.
“At that time, I hadn’t constructed these relationships with my teammates, so it was form of a bizarre time,” mentioned Clark.
She thought which will the top of her soccer profession as soon as once more, however given this second probability, she was not going to go down with out a battle.
Clark was finally cleared to get again to coaching and at last made her long-awaited debut within the second-to-last recreation of the season, enjoying 45 minutes and even accumulating an help towards Webber Worldwide.
Within the three years since, Clark has began 40 video games for the Eagles, earned a scholarship, and has been one of many key explanation why FGCU has change into probably the greatest defenses within the ASUN as they’ve allowed simply 15 targets in 22 ASUN contests since 2019.
Trying again on the previous few years, Clark has modified rather a lot, now not the shy stranger she might have felt like in 2018.
“I am extra of a frontrunner now, I am positively not shy anymore,” Clark mentioned with amusing. “I am one of many louder ones. That simply comes with getting snug with the workforce and the teaching employees.”
Clark has completed rather a lot in her profession sporting the Inexperienced and Blue, together with scoring her first-career purpose earlier this 12 months, however an ASUN Championship and the NCAA Match look have eluded her. She is going to get yet one more probability because the ASUN Match begins on Friday at Pickering Discipline. Along with her family and friends within the crowd, Clark will look to place a cap on a virtually non-existent Eagle profession.
https://fgcuathletics.com/information/2021/10/26/womens-soccer-syniah-clark-from-stranger-to-standout.aspx | Syniah Clark: From Stranger to Standout