In The Locker Room with Soccer Extraordinaires Lucy Fredell and Sydnie Savarese

College fourth-years Lucy Fredell and Sydnie Savarese have both been playing soccer for nearly their whole lives. Coming to Oberlin, they found a lovely and supportive community on the varsity soccer team. Both are also some of the most decorated athletes in the program’s history as part of the 2019 All-NCAC Second Team. Savarese was the 2018 All-NCAC Honorable Mention, and Fredell was awarded the 2018 All-NCAC First Team, 2018 United Soccer Coaches Great-Lakes Region Third-Team, and 2017 All-NCAC Honorable Mention.


How old were you when you started playing soccer? What made you want to start playing?

Lucy Fredell: I started playing soccer really young, I think around five. My dad played soccer so that’s why. I think I fell in love with soccer probably because I’ve always found playing as a way to express myself. 

Sydnie Savarese: I was three years old when I first started playing soccer. I started playing because my dad is really passionate about it. He coached me up until I was about 15 years old, so he has always been an inspiration to me. I love soccer because it’s a team sport, and I get to play with people who are playing both for themselves and their teammates.


How has your experience been on the varsity Oberlin Soccer team?

LF: My experience on the soccer/womxn’s team has been amazing! Everyone on the team is a friend and super supportive. 

SS: I am so lucky to have been a part of the Oberlin soccer community. Every person on my team inspires me. My teammates have so much gumption on and off the field, and the love that we have for each other has given me a family that I will hold onto throughout my post-grad life.


What are some of the things you’ve valued while being a part of this team?

LF: I think I have valued the friendships the most and the opportunity to get to know people both through soccer and off the field. I’ve also valued how the team has worked together to be a welcoming space. 

SS: After a personal defeat or a tough loss, my coaches and teammates always challenged me to reach outside of my comfort zone in order to find a more effective solution. I wouldn’t have made it without [Director of Sports Medicine] Jill [Rondini], whether it was for my strange injuries or just when I needed someone to converse. Most of all, this team has taught me that OC love is irreplaceable. 


What were your initial reactions to hearing your senior season was canceled? 

LF: It was really hard when the season was canceled. I wasn’t super surprised and it was definitely the right decision. It was a hard time because playing soccer has always been important to my mental health.

SS: The first feeling was a sense of regret for taking the little things for granted. I missed pre-practice chats during warm-ups, fun times in the locker room, and bus rides to and from games. I’ll always miss the game-day rituals, locker room showers, and competitive nature that was lacking from my senior year. It has been great to kick around and play the sport I love, with the people I love [during practices]. Although it wasn’t the senior year we envisioned, our team made the best of the unprecedented situation. As D.P. [Head Soccer Coach Dan Palmer] always says, “Another Day, Another Opportunity.”


You are both some of the most decorated athletes in program history for women’s soccer, what do you attribute this success to?

LF:  I am so grateful for the support of my family, my teammates for always keeping it fun while still challenging me, and for our coach, for his support.

SS: My success would not have been possible without my teammates. Whether I needed a good laugh, a push to keep moving forward, or a pass to get the ball in the back of the net, they were there for me. I also wouldn’t be where I am today without the support from my family. My parents have spent countless hours driving me to every club team practice and tournament, which put me in the best position to succeed. Ironically enough, my dad would be proud to hear that I am grateful for his post-game criticisms.


It’s clear you were close to significant milestones and setting records for the program before COVID. What did you hope to accomplish this year if your season was not canceled?

LF: To be honest with you, during quarantine, I just wanted to play. I missed competing and the little bit of magic when you connect with teammates on the field. What ended up mattering the most to me was the opportunity to play soccer outside, socially, and connect with people. But it would’ve been incredible to win some games. … We lost a lot in fall 2019 so it wasn’t exactly a great end but I’m still so grateful to have played in fall 2019!

SS: It’s natural to think “what if,” and with the talent we have this year I think that we would have done big things. I would have loved to beat Kenyon or Denison in the four years of playing here. And I do wish that we got to play in the NCAC tournament because I think we would’ve made it far! If the season hadn’t been canceled, my grandparents would have come out to see one last game, and I can guarantee that the Savarese family would’ve made an event out of it.


Do you have hopes to play after college? What is your soccer career looking like in your post-grad life?

LF: I will definitely be playing post-college. I feel like there’s this idea about college sports that your career is over after college. And [in] some ways that’s true especially with the pay to play system in the U.S. where it costs money to be part of a more competitive team. But I am so excited about post-COVID — safely playing pick up with people at the park, or joining a team and still playing competitively. Some of my best soccer memories have been from playing pick up at a park. Wherever I end up, I will definitely be playing soccer.

SS: I definitely intend to play in a women’s league after college. Soccer is a huge part of my life, and I don’t think that I will ever stop playing. What I love most about soccer is that once I stop playing competitively, I can always pick up a ball and kick around whenever I want. Hopefully, I can reconnect with my teammates from my club team in a league!