For starters, it was a winner for the San Diego Wave and Cardiff’s Sierra Enge.
The local National Women’s Soccer League team got the better of the Kansas City Current and Enge’s footprints were evident in last weekend’s 2-0 win.
Actually, it was one small step for Enge in her NWSL debut and one giant leap for someone with North County roots.
While the goals were produced by Alex Wagner and Belle Briede, Enge was on the pitch for 90 minutes. She contributed two clearances, a block, and an interception, and was true on 18 of her 25 passes for a nifty 72% success rate.
Yep, Enge showed up, much like she did in her five seasons at Stanford University. She played on a national title squad at “The Farm,” but never forgot the lessons she learned from attending Carlsbad’s Pacific Ridge School as a teenager.
Many of those formative years were spent with Enge earning her stripes in club soccer when she played for the teams supported by the Los Angeles Galaxy and SoCal Blue. She also led Pacific Ridge to two CIF-San Diego Section lacrosse championships.
Those glory days are in Enge’s rearview mirror. Looking forward, Wave coach Casey Stoney knows she has a rock in Enge.
“She is only going to get better in this environment,” Stoney said after Enge played in a preseason match. “She’s stepped into it immensely.”
Enge also stepped back into a Pacific Ridge classroom in March, eager to share her tips for finding the right path and striving toward a goal.
Enge’s quest to become a pro soccer player came true when the Wave selected the midfielder 13th overall in January’s draft. Among the first tweets saluting the pick came from Morgan, one of the world’s most celebrated women’s soccer players, as well as Enge’s new teammate.
“Excited for you to get started with us on the fields you grew up playing on,” Morgan wrote.
Right on, thought Enge.
Some two months later, Enge, 23, was right back at Pacific Ridge to share her story.
“It is really special,” Enge told the attentive pupils. “It’s unique to be able to come back and be able to live in my hometown.”
It’s a region that is in love with soccer and filled with folks eager to cheer those not allergic to sweat and tears. Enge emphasized that she reached the NWSL by embracing the grind that every keen athlete learns to accept.
“The first thing and a theme throughout my experience is just the importance of hard work,” Enge said. “You can really achieve great things if you are willing to work hard and dedicate time and energy toward it.”
Stoney recognized Enge’s energy long before she became part of the Wave. Then Stoney saw it up close when Enge broke the seal on her pro career in play before the regular season.
“She is so coachable,” Stoney said. “She listens, she learns and she is an incredible person. I think we are really lucky that we drafted her.”
The soccer ball didn’t fall far from the tree. Enge’s father, Brian, was also a pro soccer player after his stint at Harvard University.
What she gleaned from her dad, and others, is that soccer is as unpredictable as it is difficult. But anything worthwhile is accompanied by perseverance and that goes for athletics and everything else.
That’s why if something derails your dream, don’t quit dreaming.
“Kids and adults, at any stage in your life, you are going to face some trials and some challenges,” Enge said. “And I think through my experiences I learned how to deal with them in a positive way and I think, how I can change and grow out of it.”
She’s transitioning into her role with the Wave just fine.
“I can only say how proud I am of her,” Stoney said.
That pride also has a home in North County, where Enge has a shot of making an impact with our youth.
“They still have so much life left to live and a lot of challenges that they are going to face,” she said. “If they can come out of it from a positive and learning perspective, they are going to be better off in the future.”
That’s from someone who hasn’t forgotten her past. Once again, Enge shoots and scores.