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Aug, 2019

Dawson and Brewster Ready to Make Impact in Fall Collegiate Season

By Ryan Makuch/

As the collegiate soccer season gears up, youth clubs from all over the nation look on eager to see how well their representatives do.  For Internationals SC, that roster features two rising sophomores who look to contribute to two of the top programs in the country. Sydney Dawson of the Clemson Tigers and Jordan Brewster of the West Virginia Mountaineers both are set to take on important roles for each of their universities this season.

Coming off five straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and three trips to the ACC Tournament semi-finals in those five years, Clemson continue to impress in a tough ACC and hope to build on that for even deeper runs in the very near future.  Dawson started in fifteen of the nineteen matches (out of a 21 total matches for the team) she appeared in for the Tigers’ defense.  Dawson was a day one starter and continued to impress, even logging an assist in the stats category.  A stellar student, she made the ACC Academic Honor Roll and continues to impress her coaching staff with her comfort on the ball.

That comfort on the ball has made her essential to Clemson women’s soccer head coach Eddie Radwanski.

“Syd continues to grow and develop in those areas, so when you have a player that confident on the ball that wants the ball—the best is yet to come for her.”

Highlighting how competitive every single game in the ACC is, Dawson noted that the speed of the game is much different than what she had previously been used to.  Being an immediate starter and already figuring into this coming season’s plans, and beyond, though, highlights her ability to quickly adjust and become a contributor to one of the top teams in the ACC.

West Virginia has been one of the premier programs in the country and a national runner-up just two seasons ago certainly helps to bolster that reputation.  Having made every NCAA Tournament since 2000, expectations remain high even with a young team this fall.  Brewster, despite being a freshman, was able to carve out a role in defense starting all 23 matches as an outside back. Scoring two goals, logging four assists, and earning a Big 12 All-Second Team bid, she is set to be a key leader in a young side.

“I feel like it is on me a little bit more to make sure that I give the newcomers the same things I was given,” Brewster shared upon being asked about her role as a team leader.

During the team’s preseason media scrum, WVU women’s soccer head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown also gave high praise, saying, “Her minutes are so vital for us. Her role, and her growth, and her maturity as a back, and her communication is going to be absolutely a huge piece of our platform for success back there.”

For both women, though, Internationals not only brings back fond memories, but helped prepare them for a future in collegiate soccer. Both players highlighted Keri Sarver and Zdravko Popovic as key influences in helping them prepare for the collegiate level.

Dawson said of the “incredible” coaching staff that, “they [fostered] an extremely competitive environment,” while Brewster would add, “With everything they did they were always like, ‘We’re going to do things how they are in the college level so when you get there…you’re going to know what to expect.’”

Jumping into the collegiate level was no issue for either player.  Brewster made note of the professional training, travel, and game management within the club.

The competitive environment also allowed Dawson to jump right in at the collegiate level. “I’m used to this,” she said, “this is what I’ve grown up with.”

The level of play, given the players helped produce and the quality of the coaching staff, is understandably very high. Of course, that is also not possible without the players’ dedication.

For Brewster, part of that was not just improving on a broad sense. “They’re all about the little things,” she would note.  Things that separate the good players from the great players.  Brewster has been able to take some of those little things and become a full-time starter in the defense of one of the top teams in the Big 12 as a freshman, and now steps into a leadership role as a sophomore.

As highlighted prominently by Dawson, though, the Internationals’ influence does not stop at on-the-pitch coaching. “Internationals prides themselves on creating good people too,” Dawson said, before adding, “They want you to be a good person first…soccer is not the most important thing.”

Dawson said she learned things about good time management and was given extra pushes from the staff in things like keeping grades up, the sorts of things that are important in creating a well-balanced college athlete. “They’re like my role models, honestly, they pushed me to be the best,” she said.

As both Dawson and Brewster look to help spur their teams on to successful seasons at the Division I level, they still certainly have influence within their games from their time with Internationals SC.

Photo Credit: Dale Sparks, Shane Lardinois, and Carl Ackerman

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