Skyla Sykes

Sophomore Skyla Sykes (2) takes a shot on goal as the Ragin' Cajuns take on the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019.

Skyla Sykes is only a sophomore for the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns soccer program, but she’s already making big waves. Straight out of San Diego, Sykes plays the forward position for the Ragin Cajuns.

“I love my position on this team on and off the field,” Sykes said. “I’m only a sophomore on the team, but there’s just a culture on this team that’s indifferent to how old you are, so everyone is equally important,” Sykes said.

Sykes grew up playing soccer and has loved it for a long time.

“I’ve been playing soccer since I was 3, and when I was younger it was just running around lol, but as I grew older it just became a part of who I was and what I loved to do,” she wrote in a message.

Sykes’ experience is evident. In high school, she lettered all four years, aiding her team in reaching a championship game in 2014 and later being named First-Team All-League in 2016.

Like any long-time athlete, Sykes has a favorite part of the game.

“My favorite thing about playing soccer is how beautiful the game is when it’s played well,” Sykes wrote in a message. “When I’m with my team and we’re moving the ball and creating plays it’s just so fun.”

Times can get difficult, but Sykes credits the actual gameplay being most rewarding, “That for me is what makes all of the failures and time and effort that we put into practices worth it,” she wrote in a message.

The season is coming to an end soon, so Sykes thought back to some of her favorite games of the season.

“One of the best games of the season was versus Appalachian State,” Sykes wrote in a message. “We won 1-9 in double overtime, and it was such an exciting game.”

Louisiana played Appalachian State on Oct. 4 at home. Sykes wrote in a message she believes they could have improved in their skills, but she was proud of the unity and energy as a team. Another favorite of hers was the South Alabama game played on Sept. 22.

“We also battled well against South Alabama, who is at the top of our conference. We tied the game, but had opportunities to come out on top,” Sykes wrote in a message.

This is the first season under Head Coach Lance Key and only Sykes’s second year on the team, but she’s already looking ahead.

“I am really excited for our next two games because they are chances for us to perform at home and show everyone what we can do,” Sykes wrote in a message. “These games are really important for our position in conference play but we have everything we need to be successful in these games, so it’s just an exciting weekend.”

The last two games of the season were against Georgia Southern on Oct. 25 and Troy on Oct. 27. But beyond just the games, Sykes is also ready for the future in general.

“I am also really excited for the future of this program because Coach Lance and Coach Salas are really taking steps to push this program to the best it can be,” Sykes wrote in a message.

The team is also becoming more involved in the community and more unified in their culture of becoming champions.

“There are tons of big things ahead so it’s all really exciting,” Sykes wrote in a message.

So far this season Sykes played 16 games and started in 11. She’s had three shots on goal, one assist and one goal. Outside of soccer, her major is political science. She hopes to become a lawyer in the future.

In the spirit of Halloween, Sykes commented on her favorite Halloween movie.

“My favorite Halloween movie is The Nightmare Before Christmas. The soundtrack is so good and the animation in that movie is amazing,” Sykes wrote in a message.

With a work ethic like this and a dedicated ideology, Sykes has big things ahead with the Ragin’ Cajuns.

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