Sykes follows dreams, plays soccer at MC

Some people say he carries pocketknives with him, but some say that he carries footballs. Others have heard rumors that his right foot is illegal in 12 countries. Either way, his name is Jonathan Sykes. Jonathan Sykes, senior at Maryville College, is currently student teaching to finish his degree as a physical education with teacher licensure major and a psychology minor.

In high school, Sykes excelled in the world of soccer, winning several high school championships in the Bahamas. After proving his worth, he decided to bring his talent to Maryville College and join the soccer squad. On and off the pitch, Sykes showed dedication to the soccer team, creating bonds with fellow players bound to last a lifetime.

During his four-year tenure as a soccer player, Sykes was recruited by the Bahamas National Soccer Team, where he proved that he had a talent for the sport during several world cup-qualifying matches. Saddened by not being eligible to play collegiate soccer in the Bahamas, coaches encouraged him to look towards the American football track.

Granted the first few weeks were difficult, he said that he persevered and kept his head up. Sykes soon learned that kicking was more technical than he previously thought. After several months of intense training, Sykes said that he found his rhythm and started splitting the uprights nearly every time. “When I came here from the Bahamas, if you had told me that I would have set records in football for MC, I would have laughed and called you crazy,” Sykes said. As crazy as it may seem, Sykes set school records and gained USA South honors. In the final game of the season, he earned Special Teams Player of the Week and set a new school record for having made five successful field goals in a single game.

This game also provided him to tie the USA South’s most field goals kicked in a game. The 46-yarder that he connected with gave him the title of fourth longest kick in Maryville College’s 119-year football history. Providing 16 of the 22 points in the last game of the season, Sykes was able to provide most of the physical points to win the game and become co-champs of the league. Sykes said that this season with the football team was an experience that he would never forget.

“I feel blessed to have worked under the new coaching staff and the new era of MC football,” Sykes said. With Coach Rader’s guidance, Sykes said that MC should look forward to not only being co-champs of football, but also being the complete champions of the USA South for the 2013 season.

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