Never give up: the story of Sydney Leroux

Giancarlo Navas/Staff Writer

Heart, emotion and adventure capture the essence of sports. It’s the very thing that makes up the human condition. Athletes always speak of what sports gave to them, but little do they think of what they gave to sports.

Sydney Leroux of the US Women’s National Soccer team left her home in Canada at the age of 15. She left behind her partner, her biggest supporter and the person that loved her most, her mother.

“I had no friends, no family, just soccer,” Leroux said.

Her time in high school was spent jumping from house to house. Having teammates take her in to live with them until they moved or went to college.

“It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, I had to keep telling myself that I made the right choice,” Leroux said.

A choice that eventually blossomed into a gold medal and 44 goals scored for the no. 1 ranked team in FIFA.

“I walked the harder path,” Leroux said.

A harder path indeed. Imagine, leaving all you knew. A country, a family, friends and a culture. Leaving it all behind chasing a dream that millions others share. To be one of 24 players to wear the crest of United States soccer.

“I knew I wanted to play for the best team in the world when I was six. To be a part of something special,” Leroux said.

Her wishes and wants would not come without sacrifice. When her mother was three months pregnant with her, Sydney’s father walked out.

“I have no relationship with him. There is no relationship with him,” Leroux said.

She grew up without a father.

However, because she was born in Canada, the only way she could play soccer for the United States is having parents from America. Her mother was Canadian and her father was American.

She had to recognize a man she had no relationship with as her father in order to live out her dream.

“The only two things he gave me was life and soccer,” Leroux said.

The irony. The man who gave her nothing, gave her everything. Soccer and life. The ability to live a dream that millions of other yearn for. Yet, there is still nothing.

From a girl with no father, to Olympic gold in London. It’s poetic and something the finest director in Hollywood could not script.

Her story of heartbreak and success is what she gave to soccer. A story to uplift not only youth trying to make it in the world, not only athletes trying to climb to top of their professions, but anyone in a struggle.

“I remember crying to Mom all the time when I left Canada. Telling her I wanted to quit soccer and go home,” Leroux said.

She fought all odds, some that presented themselves when she left Canada. Some that appeared on the road to being one of the best 24 women soccer players in this country and some that came up even before she was born. A challenge she would confront and conquer.

Leroux grabbed her heart where the United States soccer crest was on her jersey.

“This is the imprint I want to leave. To wear and honor this crest. It’s what I have always wanted,” Leroux said.

Its not just her heart or the crest she grabbed. It was all the struggles and the dreams she lived. It was everything she had gone through, finally in her hand. Finally tangible.

“Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up,” Leroux said.

A harder path indeed she walked. But the easy path never has the great story. Only after you’ve lost and lived can you truly have made it. And in 2015 Leroux will come full circle, playing in the Women’s World Cup in Canada.

Where it all started. She never ever ever gave up. And she never will.

2 Comments on "Never give up: the story of Sydney Leroux"

  1. How would Americans feel if a native-born American decided to leave the US to go play in Canada? That’s how we feel in Canada when our young people go to foreign countries to play soccer. One doesn;t know whether to laugh or cry when a child of 15 decides to acknowledge a dead beat dad in order to get a passport. That’s a high moral decision. Where was her mother in all this? Canada is just as good in women’s soccer as the US. But hey if people don’t want to stay and love Canada, well don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Canada has literally tens of thousands of “citizens” living in other countries who only come back when they need social services and free universal medical care. Best of luck to Sydney but when her career is over and she needs medical care, here’s hoping she’ll do the honorable thing and not come back to Canada.

  2. Actually there are two American born players on the CanWNT. We don’t verbally abuse them when we play Canada (unlike what Sydney Leroux has to go through). In fact we really don’t care because if they were good enough they would be playing for the US (and I’m not saying Lauren Sesselman and Rachel Quon aren’t good but they took the easier route of working there way into the CanWNT). In fact Rachel Quon played in US youth teams as recently as 2012, so we could say that we gave her all her development and then she went over to Canada (which is what is said about Sydney Leroux a lot even though she left Canada at 15). Not to mention that most of the CanWNT played college soccer in the US. The simple fact is that the CanWNT is not as good as the USWNT. If you have the option of course you are going to play for the better team.

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