Within a week of learning how to walk, Sierra Sythe was already running.
“She had a lot of energy,” said her dad Andy Sythe.
When it came to playing sports, she tried a lot of them, but one key thing was missing.
“I didn’t like how there wasn’t any running in it,” Sierra said. “I was pretty bored.”
Sythe joined the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) at the age of four.
“It was just something where I could put running and energy into it but also I really enjoyed it,” she said.
Within a few years, she was invited to the Beach FC club team and eventually joined the U.S. Development Academy.
Sythe, a junior at Millikan who is committed to Wake Forest, is instrumental in the Rams’ (13-2, 4-0) success this year, both on and off the field.
In wins over Lakewood and Poly earlier this year, Sythe has shined with two goals in a 8-0 win over the Lancers and a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win over the Jackrabbits.
The Rams have a big showdown with Poly today at 6 p.m. at Poly.
“She has the IQ, is technically sound, and has the speed,” Rams coach Tino Nunez said. “When you put the three together, it’s a scary combo.”
This year is Sythe’s first full season of high school soccer.
As a freshman, she didn’t play at Millikan and instead competed with the U.S. Development Academy. Last year, she was only able to play part-time due to other club obligations.
Nunez, who said the forward is a “great teammate” and “humble”, added that even though Sythe played part-time last year, she still attended practices and games when she could.
“You can tell when kids want to be here,” Nunez said. “She is a leader by example and says hi to everyone. She is (talented) beyond her years.”
Andy Sythe, who is the longtime track and field coach at Long Beach State, said the team community and school pride has been great for his daughter.
“She is able to interact with athletes at her school,” Sythe said. “The program is close and has a bond. It’s a great transition (from club).”
Sierra said the big games against Poly, Wilson and Lakewood get her motivated.
“Everyone gets super excited about it,” she said. “I think in training, everyone’s kind of preparing and we bring that energy and then just knowing that we get to play against good opponents and having the opportunity to go and showcase our skills….and having those individual moments.”
The Rams are three-time defending Moore League champions and are ranked No. 4 in the latest CIF-SS Division 1 Poll.
“This team is amazing,” Sythe said. “We have so many different individuals on our team who bring just so much talent in all aspects of the game, but also we’re just like a great group.”
Sythe said in her free time she does like to run long distances. She doesn’t have a future in track, but does enjoy going to LBSU track and field meets to support her dad.
“He loves coming out and watching the soccer games and we go out and support in track,” she said.
While there might be pressure of having that target since she is committed to a D1 school, Sythe said a coach a few years ago told her “to let yourself have fun and play the game.”
“That’s been something I’ve had to work on over the years is just letting go of fears of messing up and things like that,” she said. “And now I think I’m at a place where I’m just really happy with how I’m playing.”
With one more year, Nunez said Sythe has already cemented her place in Rams history.
“She is the most complete soccer player all around (he’s coached),” Nunez said.