That’s the number of minutes in a 19 game season with four of those games going into double overtime. That is also the exact number of minutes that FC Copa Academy Alumna Sydney Cummings played for the Brown University Women’s Soccer Team this past fall. She did not miss a second on the field. In today’s world, with all the talk of “load management” and resting players, not missing a single minute in a season is quite remarkable. What’s even more impressive is that over the span of her collegiate career, she has played 4,803 of a possible 4,822 minutes (99.6 percent).
After earning Second Team-All Ivy laurels last year, Sydney earned First Team All-Ivy honors unanimously. It’s very difficult to be able to get an entire room of people to agree on one thing, but Sydney’s dominance and leadership was evident. Not only was it evident to the Ivy League, but also to the entirety of the NCAA as she garnered Second Team All-America plaudits as well. Most recently, she won Female Athlete of the Year honors from Words Unlimited, an organization of sportswriters, sportscasters, and sports publicists based in Rhode Island.
Someone once said, “availability is the best ability.” I think it’s safe to say that Sydney personifies that quote, however, availability is not her only ability. As the starting Center Back for Brown University, she helped the Bears to a total of 24 shutouts since the beginning of her collegiate career. This past fall season has been the most successful, where she helped post a record 13 shutouts and led a Brown defense that was ranked second in the NCAA in goals allowed (8). She helped Brown to its first Ivy League title and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament, their first since 1994. Sydney also led her team in assists with seven, which ranked third in the Ivy League.
As you can see, Sydney was a huge part of a record setting season for the Bears but to her, her team accomplishments were more important than any personal award she received. I got a chance to ask Sydney a couple of questions regarding her success this past year, her impressive call up to the Guyanese Women’s National Team, and what the future may hold. Check out the interview below!
How does it feel to accomplish so much in just your junior year at Brown University?
This year has been the kind of season everyone dreams of when they commit to a school. We had obvious success but there’s so much more that went into this season. It started after a tough season last year. In the off-season we put in so much work, setting standards that everyone had to meet so we could define Brown Women’s Soccer. In the beginning, it was about keeping that standard as we trickled into preseason. But then we wanted to surpass it and set a new standard—a standard of champions. This season was amazing because nobody knows how hard we worked in the spring. It wasn’t an accident that we were this successful. We worked for it. The most amazing thing about it all is that I get to try to do it all over again next season. And the work has already started.
Which accomplishment, personal or team, are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of the Ivy League championship. That was what we wanted above all. We wanted a ring, we wanted to represent our League in the NCAA Tournament. Everything else that came with the season was an added bonus, including all my personal accomplishments. Brown Women’s Soccer works hard, and hard work isn’t always rewarded, so it makes me beam with pride that ours was.
Did the games in the NCAA Tournament have a different feel to them compared to your Ivy Leagues games?
As weird as this may sound, the biggest difference between the Tournament games and the League games was just the atmosphere. There were big crowds at both games and we had to adopt a tournament mentality. Perform or your season is done. Ivy League games prepared us so well for the Tournament because of their intensity. Since we play every team every year and there’s so few of us, League games are intense. So much heart goes into every minute, especially because you’re playing against a team you have some kind of history with. I think the Ivy League prepares whatever team wins for the Tournament because during League play, you have to adapt the mentality of “perform or you’re out” because how how few games there are and how much each one matters.
What is your goal moving forward, in regards to soccer?
Short term, my goal for soccer is to work on a few things in the off season. There’s always room for improvement and I sat down with my coaches after season and we came up with a list of things together. I feel like there’s still so much room for me to grow as a player and if I only have one more year left playing this game, I want to give it everything I have. That being said, hopefully this won’t be it for me. I’m not ready to let go of the game and hope to play as long as my body will let me.
How was your experience with the Guyanese Women’s National Team? Is that something you hope to experience again?
My experience was once in a lifetime. I was able to represent a country which means so much to me and my family. I was able to go back to my dad’s home, see family I miss dearly, and deepen my roots. The girls were so welcoming and integrated us newcomers right away. It’s something special to wear a country crest on your jersey and to represent something bigger than yourself, even bigger than a college. The fans were wonderful, they cheered and roared and supported us through every game and step. Representing Guyana is something I wouldn’t change for the whole world. It’s an experience I’ll never be able to mimic in its entirety and so to the program, coaches, players, and country, I am eternally grateful.
2019 Season Highlights
Second Team All-American
First Team All-Ivy (unanimous)
First Team All-East Region
First Team NEWISA All-New England (top vote getter)
Words Unlimited Female Athlete of the Year
First Team Scholar All-American
First Team Scholar All-East Region
Played all 1,790 minutes on the season
Started all 19 games as a center back
Led the team and ranked third in the Ivy League in assists (seven)
Played a season-high 110 minutes four times
Posted two assists twice
Helped Brown win its first Ivy League title
Helped Brown make its first NCAA Championship appearance since 1994
Helped the Bears set single-season program records for wins (14), home wins (11), and shutouts (13)
Led a Brown defense that ranked second in the NCAA in goals allowed (eight), third in save percentage (.890), and fourth in GAA (0.40)
Sydney, we wish you the best of luck in your future at Brown and beyond. We are so proud to have someone so incredible on and off the field be a part of the Copa Family.