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Feb, 2018

2018 Signing Day Class for Internationals SC Impresses On and Off the Field

By Robert Ivory/

On Thursday night, the Internationals Soccer Club had eight of their own sign on the dotted line as they took the next step in their soccer careers as part of a ceremony at Pinnacle Sports in Medina, Ohio. Eight athletes signed their letters of intent to play soccer next fall in colleges and universities all over the country, while two remain uncommitted. 

Gabrielle Berkes (Gardner-Webb University), Jordan Brewster (West Virginia), Sydney Dawson (Clemson University), Schuyler Dick (Uncommitted), Emily Kaufman (Washington University in St. Louis), Brittany McFall (Youngstown State), Grace Rickett (University of Dayton), Peyton Rimko (Uncommitted), Loren Sefcik (University of Maryland), and Hannah Zaluski (George Washington University) took a step closer to ending their Internationals career and will spend the summer heading to their new programs.

“This is a sweet and sad moment for me,” Internationals SC Founder, President, and Director of Coaching Zdravko Popovic said of the event. “Knowing that they are leaving to the bigger, better things is a great satisfaction.”

Popovic has guided these players since they arrived and has been instrumental to their lessons on and off the field.

“They grew up in a family, the Internationals family, not only to be the best players they could be up to this point and now they have a base to take their game to the next level. At the program we are very deep and high about developing a total athlete. In every game there is something to be learned.”

Those who have signed have committed to major soccer programs around the county, but the hard work and training was shared by the Internationals staff and coaches. Each player commented on how the club helped them develop their soccer skill sets, but also guided them to better individuals.

“They’ve helped me not only as a player, but as a person,” Brewster said. “They’re focusing on the small details and focusing on the little things. They remind us about the big picture, but we won’t get there if we don’t focus on each individual step.”

Brewster will be heading to a West Virginia program that was national runner-up in 2016, giving her confidence that she will be pushed to be a better player.

“I’ve been waiting for the chance to go there. I felt like it was a home away from home and everyone is tight there. All the prospects I am given are incredible and I am blessed to have these opportunities.”

Dawson also shared positive thoughts about her experience with Internationals SC.

“I’ve played with this club for ten years and since I’ve started, it’s always been a training environment. They’ve been great role models here.  They’ve taught us how to be mature and make the right decisions, and there’s no better club in northeast Ohio that could prepare me for this opportunity.”

Dawson, who signed for Clemson, said that she picked the school that made her the happiest.

“This is achieving my first long-term goal, which is exciting and now I get to represent my school.”

Rickett, who signed with Dayton, said that the UD community helped her decision.

“I enjoyed that a lot of people attend games on campus and everybody was really nice.”

Interestingly, Grace’s Atlantic 10 Conference opponent will be Internationals teammate Hannah Zaluski, who signed for George Washington.

“We are excited that we will be able to see each other and stay in touch and get to see each other when we play against each other.”

For the Internationals players, this is understandably a big deep breath taken and they now can enjoy their last months as high schoolers.

Youngstown State commit Brittany McFall summed it up best. “It was relieving. I could stop stressing about the decision and nice to know where I was set and going.”

This is a huge step taken by all the players as they look to spread the word of the great intangibles the Internationals provide their players. Each player not only mentioned what soccer skills they have gained, but each commented on what the club does for them on a personal level.

“I think it’s rewarding for all of us,” Brewster, who has been with the club since 2009, said of her big night. “We can all celebrate as a club since we can come together. We’re sad that we’re leaving this program but excited about the future.”

Photo Credit: Brent Durken/

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