Sydnee Marlow, daughter of Shawn and Stephanie Marlow will continue her education at Iowa Western Community College (IWCC) where she will study pre-nursing and play soccer.
She had offers from schools such as Laramie County Community College, North Idaho College, College of Idaho, Walla Walla Community College, and Northwestern Oklahoma State University but "there really was no other school like Iowa Western,” Marlow said. “The coach (Adam Sanchez) was so great to me from the beginning, and I could go on and on of how bonded the team was there. As soon as I stepped on the campus, it was a feeling I had not had from any of the other schools and could instantly see myself being there for the next two years.”
It certainly didn’t hurt that her dad, who played college football at Rick College (now BYU-I), and Rocky Mountain College, thoroughly endorsees the junior college experience, or that former teammate Addison Moser will be playing there as well.
“...going that route first is always a good idea,” Marlow said. “And if more opportunities come to follow, it allows you to improve if you aren’t quite at that Division 1 level yet.”
Sydnee also played on the varsity basketball team at Preston High School, but "soccer has always been my love since I first started playing at the age of four,” she said. “I have always loved the team atmosphere and practicing every day. Not many athletes can say that, but I loved being sore and having to work that much harder to improve each day. ...I never get tired of it."
So when Coach Brandon Lyon asked her to play keeper, even though she didn't want to, Marlow stepped up and gave it her all.
“From the get-go, goalie was my least favorite position,” she said. “But coach Lyon was convinced that was where I was going to play for him ... as he watched me compete on his wife’s team.”
The decision made her "frustrated, sad, and (feel) defeated. But my parents had always taught me to be respectful of my coaches and play where they felt I was needed most. Over the four years, I learned to love it and own it.”
“Coach Lyon also named me and two others a team captain this past season and told me from the beginning that every team needs a strong and vocal leader. Being a goalie has taught me just that. After winning both the district and state championship, Lyon gave me a huge hug and said, “This is why I did what I did four years ago.” Little did I know that this huge change for me would give me the opportunity to play at the next level. I hate to admit it, but Coach Lyon was right.”
“Winning a state championship has always been the goal,” she said. “Watching the previous seniors, which included my older sister and back defender, fall short of going to state, made this year’s seniors that much more motivated to win it all.”
In the end it all comes down to a willingness to do what it takes to succeed but the support and mentoring of family, coaches and friends can make all the difference.
“There are many people that I want to credit through my journey such as ... Lyon, who convinced me to play, learn to love and own the goalie position,” said Marlow. Assistant coaches Aubriann Boson and Christina Anderson, have "continually pushed me to become the player I am today and for all the work they have put in to help me succeed throughout high school,” she said.
“I especially want to thank my goalie coach, Dalton Lloyd, who has spent the most time with me throughout high school ball. When I first came in, I was definitely not the most technically sound or sharpest goalie that he has trained. But through many hours of hard work, scrapes, bumps, and bruises, I am the player I am today because of him. He has never given up on me and has always picked me up when I needed it most.”
“I also want to thank my competitive spring soccer coach, Mike Heap, who has always been my number one fan, even when I was not wearing his jersey. He has always taught me to 'be classy,' be an upstanding individual, and has shown me what it is like to become a team leader. He has become like my second father, even though I met him later in my soccer career.”
“Lastly, I want to thank my biggest role models in my life, my mom and dad. It took a lot of convincing to get my parents on board for me to become a goalkeeper, but they always supported me, even if they had hesitations. They have sacrificed so much for me to play the sport I love. They have spent endless amounts of hours on the road, in the car, dragging them left and right, to make sure I was getting the most opportunities possible for me to improve and succeed. To my mom, for always being at every soccer game, cheering me on and always being my number one fan. And to my dad, for always being my pick-me-up after hard games and putting his coaching hat on when I needed him to.”
“Lastly, to my sisters, they truly are my rock stars through all of this. I will never forget how excited they were for me when we won the state championship; I think they were smiling just as much as I was because they loved being there for me for the sport I loved and have devoted so much time to.”