Back from her first full season in professional soccer, Sydney Miramontez is in Kansas City for the off season and making new memories in the sport.
A Lenexa native and 2013 Shawnee Mission West graduate, Miramontez credits her experiences on her high school and college teams as well as youth soccer clubs with Huw Williams for her professional opportunity. She now plays for the Utah Royals FC in Salt Lake City, which bought FC Kansas City after the team folded in November 2017.
Miramontez said playing in the National Women’s Soccer League — the highest tier of women’s soccer in the country — in Salt Lake City this year was a great experience that felt surreal at times.
“Being young, I still consider myself still pretty inexperienced, and there’s just so many talented players that have been doing this for years,” she said. “Week in and week out, you’re playing top talent (that) have been doing this for so long.
“I feel very lucky to be playing at this level, and to still be playing and now being able to make a living off of it. It’s competitive, but I can’t imagine doing anything else right now.”
And she and her teammates laugh at the fact that a Kansas City area native gets to play for the Royals in Utah.
“With the Royals name, we joke a little bit about that sometimes,” she said, referring to the Kansas City Royals.
Trying her hand in the broadcast booth
Her first full season playing in the NWSL ran from February to September.
Now, just a few weeks into her off season, Miramontez is taking time for herself, “not touching a soccer ball.” She did call her first game just a few weeks ago, though, for the University of Kansas women’s soccer match against the Iowa State Cyclones.
“Just on a whim, I decided to take a little bit of a risk and go up there and do it, and I was fortunate enough to call the game next to Nate Bukaty, who does the play calling for Sporting Kansas City,” Miramontez said. “What an incredible opportunity to learn from someone of his stature.”
Bukaty provided the play-by-play during the match, while Miramontez provided analysis of the players, their competitive styles and history in the sport. She admits that calling her first game was “a little nerve-racking” but she still enjoyed the experience and learning on the go.
“I have so much respect for that aspect of the game; it was something I’ve never really done before,” she said, adding that she’d be interested in filling in again.
Miramontez filled in for Huw Williams, who she knows from years playing in youth soccer clubs. She also recently played for Williams on a semi-professional team in the Kansas City area.
“It’s always nice to have him in your corner when he’s so well known and so respected across the soccer community, not just in Kansas City but across the country,” she said.
Before joining FC Kansas City, Miramontez played Division 1 college soccer for the University of Nebraska on a scholarship. Before that, she played for Shawnee Mission West, which has, historically, churned out excellent players under the leadership of Sarah Gonzalez, she added.
In her high school sophomore year, the Vikings made it to state championship. Miramontez also received accolades for her offensive playing.
Now, she plays defense professionally, making her a “complete soccer player,” she said. But high school is where her career took off, and for that, she is grateful.
“High school soccer will always stay with me,” she said. “I sincerely enjoyed Shawnee Mission West and playing for Coach Gonzalez.”