Former Piedmont Lady Wildcat soccer star Sydney Campbell’s game has come a long way.
Campbell was named to the Oklahoma All-State west soccer team recently and will take part in the All-State game June 13 at Newcastle High School. She says this is the last place she thought her soccer career would take her.
“When I first started playing soccer I thought you used your hands,” she said. “So no, I would not have foreseen this in my future.”
Like most young players, somewhere along the way Campbell learned to use her feet instead of her hands and the rest is history. A forward, she helped lead the 2013 Piedmont team to the state-semifinals in only the program’s third season of existence.
She says she’s anxious, but not nervous about getting to play in the prestigious game.
“I would say I’m more ready than anything,” she said.
Campbell’s taken part in a scrimmage and a practice with her fellow all-staters in preparation for the game and says it’s been a great experience thus far.
“That was a good experience playing with the girls we are normally competing against,” she said. “It was cool getting to play with girls that have the same passion for the game and want to win as bad as you do.”
Two of those players happen to be girls Campbell is more than a little familiar with. Fellow Lady Wildcat teammates Alex Clyden and Kaylee Murphy were also named to the west squad.
“I think it’s really cool for all of us,” she said of their last opportunity to play together. “Alex and I have been friends since we were like eight, and Kaylee and Alex have been friends since they were little.”
Campbell’s path to being named All-District and All-State wasn’t always easy. She played for three different head coaches in three seasons and battled ankle and rib injuries during her final season at PHS.
When talented sophomore forward Jordan Hindren went down with an ACL injury in the sixth game of last season, shortening the ‘Cats rotation and forcing Campbell to play increased minutes despite her injuries, she responded by leading her team to eight straight victories and helping Piedmont outscore eight district opponents by a combined score of 58-0.
“Sydney was a big part of that run,” her head coach, Brad Brucker said. “She just kept fighting and fighting and things turned out well for her.”
Campbell’s sophomore season coincided with the creation of Piedmont’s soccer program. That first year was rough, she says. None of the Lady Wildcats’ games in district that season counted and the girls shared a facility with the boys squad. But as a junior, Campbell had a good year statistically and set the stage for her and the team’s magical run in 2013.
“This past season under coach Brucker we really came together as a family,” she said. “We finally saw what we could accomplish and that we just needed to go out and do it.”
The All-State game will be a culmination of sorts for Campbell, and although she says her goals for the game don’t include anything specific, she wants to make sure she brings her best to the pitch.
“I just want to play my hardest and show that I definitely deserve to be there,” she said. “I don’t want anyone to question, ‘why is that girl playing out there?’”
The former Lady Wildcat star says it’s a no-brainer that she wants her team to win even though it’s an all-star game. But she also says no matter what, that she and her Piedmont teammates will take pride in representing PHS soccer.
“The three of us have started every game since the program began,” she said. “The whole soccer program really means a lot to us.”
Check next week’s Piedmont Gazette for coverage of the game.