By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
Sydney Carmen can’t imagine her life without soccer.
Why would she want to?
Everything she loves about competition and friendship all shine brightest when she is playing for the Streetsboro Rockets.
The teamwork required to share in the accomplishment of a common goal.
The communication that pulls 11 individuals into one complete team.
The memories created alongside her closest friends and soccer sisters.
Every piece is another layer of love for Carmen and soccer.
The first layer came when Carmen was just 3 years old.
“The moment I was old enough to do anything, my parents started me in soccer,” Carmen said.
It became a trend, in fact, for practically every sport imaginable.
Carmen has played volleyball, softball, flag football, cheerleading — and a long list of others.
“I am not sure there is a sport I have not played for at least one season,” Carmen says with a laugh.
Soccer always remained her constant No. 1.
It was not so much that Carmen did not enjoy the other sports, but it was so much more about how much she loved soccer.
“I always liked soccer, but with each season, I found myself liking it more and more,” Carmen said. “It got to the point that I realized that I couldn’t imagine my life without soccer.”
Now the Rockets couldn’t imagine taking the field without her.
The senior has helped Streetsboro maintain its hold of excellence on the Metro Athletic Conference.
Once the county’s lower-tier performing program, the Rockets have spent the last eight years as not only one of Portage’s top teams, but also one of the premier programs in Northeast Ohio.
In fact, the Rockets have not lost a regular-season league game since Sept. 25, 2018 — a 2-1 loss at Norton.
It is a stretch of 37 games that they have not lost a league game, which does include two ties, for 35-0-2 league record since Sept. 25, 2018.
This season, the Rockets are 9-2-2 overall and 6-0-1 in the MAC, with Carmen, who was named Second Team All-MAC last season, serving as one of the key components from her center midfield position.
Now the senior, Carmen said she remembers being the underclassman on the team and hoping that one day she could keep the program’s legacy at the top.
“My freshman and sophomore years, I watched the seniors play so well, and I hoped that we would get a chance when we were seniors to keep it going,” Carmen said. “I would always think that I wish I could be like them. Now, I am the senior, so it is a totally different perspective, but a great feeling. We have such a great group, and we have so much fun. I can’t wait to get to practices and can’t wait to play in games, because I know I get to do it with my friends. It is my favorite place to be.”
One of those longtime friends is junior Madelyn Genovese. The duo have grown up playing with each other and are neighbors. On the field, they have a connection that almost does not require any verbal communication.
“We actually talk a lot, though, when we are on the field, our entire team does,” Carmen said. “It’s just that ‘Mads’ and I are already moving in directions and thinking about things before the communication even happens. We just play off each other so well.”
As do all of the Rockets collectively.
“It just makes me so proud of everyone,” Carmen said. “The energy and environment that our team has is special and it makes everything so exciting for everyone right now, but also for the future, too.”