Rookie & Jamaican int’l Sydney Schneider is excited to join the Spirit and learn from Bledsoe

On Wednesday, the Washington Spirit picked up five players from the 2021 NWSL Draft. That group of talented rookies includes the first goalkeeper selected on draft night, Sydney Schneider of UNC Wilmington, the first-ever NWSL draft pick from the Seahawks. “I am so excited to have been drafted by the Spirit,” Schneider told BGN. “It means the world that they have faith in me and have given me this opportunity.”

As a rookie, Schneider lands in the perfect spot to learn behind one of the NWSL’s best at her position, 2019 Goalkeeper of the Year Aubrey Bledsoe. “Aubrey Bledsoe is amazing and I am stoked to be training with her,” Schneider said.  “I know I will learn so much from her and I am so excited to compete with her as well. I think she will bring out the best in me and will be a good role model for me to look up to.”

While she’s new to professional soccer, playing on the big stage won’t be a major adjustment for Sydney. With the option to represent the United States, Germany, or Jamaica on the international level, she decided to play for Jamaica and was the first-choice goalkeeper for the Reggae Girlz at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. “Jamaica is where my family is from and it just felt right,” she explained. “I had an opportunity to represent my country which is amazing and such an honor.”

“To make history with The Reggae girls was incredible,” she said, referring to the team making its first-ever World Cup. “It is so special to know that other young girls are looking up to all of us and are inspired to follow their dream. Having that kind of impact on people all over is incredible.”

Able to make history with her national team, Sydney’s favorite team in the “other” football was able to avoid making the bad kind of history this season. The New York Jets won two games down the stretch to dodge a winless, 0-16 season. When I asked if she’s optimistic for the 2021-22 season, she responded, with a laugh, “I am a Jets fan because of my stepdad, Dave, so I hope it is better in 2021-2022 so I can stop hearing him complain about them. I am just hoping at this point but not too optimistic.”

In addition to the Jets, the South Brunswick, New Jersey native also has an appreciation for the vast musical talent from her home region. Who would you put on your personal Mount Rushmore of New Jersey musical artists? “Bon Jovi, Whitney Houston, Halsey, and the Jonas Brothers,” she listed.

With the lulls that come from a lack of action for a goalkeeper at times, it wouldn’t be surprising if “Livin’ on a Prayer” or “I Will Always Love You” got stuck in Schneider’s head. But, her mind goes in a different direction while the ball is on the other end of the pitch. She said, “I am such a planner. I am always planning. So sometimes if I get out of the action for a while I will plan what I am doing either after or for the next few days.”

“It usually had to do with what homework I was going to do and when. I also sometimes imagine scenarios that could happen in the game, just to keep a positive visualization going. I may not be physically warmed and doing something but I am mentally.”

Now, that planning won’t include homework anymore, but instead, she can start to visualize her development as a young goalkeeper entering her first professional season. To all of the Spirit fans, Schneider has a message for you ahead of the 2021 season. “I would say that I am super excited to be here in Washington and look forward to seeing and hearing all of you guys,” she said. “Also I am super excited to hopefully bring home some championships back to Washington!”

Carson A Merk

Reporting live from Sin City, I have covered both RGVFC and Las Vegas Lights FC since their inceptions. I also write profiles to highlight players from the NCAA to USL to NWSL and everywhere in between.