by Karen Flores, Staff Writer
Manhattan College’s Sydney Harwood has been selected as one of 10 NCAA women’s soccer finalists for the 2021 Senior CLASS award.
The Senior CLASS (Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School) award aims to recognize and celebrate NCAA Division I senior student athletes that have attributes in four categories: community, classroom, character and competition. The award winners are chosen through a selection process that consists of Division I college coaches in each sport, fans and national media.
Harwood, a graduate mechanical engineering student and three-time captain of the women’s soccer team was born and raised in Monroe, New York. Harwood has harbored a love for the sport since the age of five. When she was young, one of her goals was to become a Division I soccer player in college. She says that being able to get an education while being involved in the team has been a very rewarding experience.
“I’ve been very, very busy, especially with the courses of engineering. But it was never too overwhelming,” said Harwood in regards to juggling both academic and athletic responsibilities.
Harwood said that the “great support system” between her coaches and professors allowed her to remain effi- cient both on and off the field. Harwood is the oldest of three children and says that her younger sisters are her biggest inspiration during her academic and athletic career.
“What I do, I do try to encourage them,” said Harwood.
Harwood had previously been committed to Binghamton University to play on their team. However, due to changes in the coaching staff, Harwood began to look for other colleges to play for. Harwood has known Lawler since her freshman year of high school, and he reached out to her about the engineering and athletic programs here at Manhattan.
Brendan Lawler, coach of the women’s soccer team at Manhattan College, commented on Harwood’s recruitment process.
“When she came here she was pretty much a starter from day one as a soccer player,” said Lawler. “She is always ready, able and willing to move to wherever the team needs her … she is always willing to step up.”
Harwood has played in a variety of positions throughout her career, but defense has always been her top position.
Lawler believes it’s Harwood’s empathetic, determined and adaptive personality that has allowed her to thrive as a captain and a student and is one of many reasons why she’s a finalist for the 2021 senior class award.
Harwood stated that Kevin Ross, previous social media co-ordinator, had looked over her resume and submitted an application for her for the award. A few weeks later she received news that she had been selected as one of 30 semi-finalists for the award. Harwood then moved onto the top 10 in the nationwide vote.
“The great thing about team sports is it’s not just you know, a win for yourself, but it’s a win for your team and your whole program. So that was really great” said Harwood.
Harwood is a member of the Epsilon Sigma Pi, Pi Tau Sigma, Pi Mu Epsilon and Tau Beta Pi honors societies that celebrate excellent academic achievement and character. She was the vice president of Pi Tau Sigma during her senior year. Further, Harwood formed part of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Society of women engineers and the Mechanical Engineering Women and the Manhattan College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
“She works so hard and everyone knows she is determined on and off the field … She is a humble, hardworking player and student who every girl on the team looks up to,” said Julia Nicholas, a freshman childhood special education major on the women’s soccer team.
Nicholas told the Quadrangle that she felt wholeheartedly welcomed by Harwood as she transitioned into a new environment at MC.
“She embodies our team values in herself and has a contagious, positive attitude,” Nicholas said. “Sydney always makes [us] feel important and like [we] are vital parts of the team. We will miss her.”
Harwood’s teammates and coach expressed great appreciation for the honor that showcased Harwood’s hard work and dedication. Lawler hopes that others see the effort and consistency Harwood has put into her community, team and herself.
“It’s great to see good people getting recognized because it doesn’t always happen,” Lawler said. “A lot of times in soccer, it’s about the most goals scored and whatnot. As a defender and midfielder she’s not necessarily always kind of recognized that way but to see her as a whole person being recognized, I’m just really happy because she definitely deserves it.”