An All-American year: St. Charles North's Sinnaeve overcomes obstacles, earns national honor
First, there was a major injury to recover from.
Then the soccer season was postponed due to COVID-19.
The start of Jared Sinnaeve's senior year at St. Charles North was a bit of a bummer.
But it sure finished nicely.
Sinnaeve, who overcame off-season knee surgery and helped the North Stars put together an undefeated conference championship in their abbreviated and delayed season in the spring, found out recently he was named to the 2021 United Soccer Coaches High School Boys Winter-Spring All-American team.
"It's a really big honor and a symbol to me of the hard work I've put in the last year," said Sinnaeve, a center midfielder. "A year ago, I went through a lot of struggles and wasn't sure what was going to happen.
"I focused on getting back. When you put in hard work you can accomplish big things. Everything worked out."
Sinnaeve, 18, was captain last season and the team clicked. The North Stars wanted to compete in a state tournament, but were still happy about their DuKane Conference championship.
Sinnaeve ended the season with 6 goals and 15 assists.
"I probably improved the most I ever have in my life preparing for this season because I was trying so hard to get back," he said. "All of us worked hard because we all wanted to play after COVID.
"And almost my entire team were guys I played club with, so the chemistry was there."
Sinnaeve, who received All-American votes from local coaches who were impressed with his leadership, energy and playmaking abilities, grew up playing soccer.
He doesn't remember a time he wasn't competing at the top levels of club soccer.
"Probably starting when I was 5 or 6," said Sinnaeve, a longtime member of the club team Campton United out of St. Charles. "I used to play basketball and football in rec league growing up, but soccer was always my main sport. It was always soccer, soccer, soccer, because I was always very passionate for the sport.
"It's the freedom you have with soccer. When you have the ball, you can do absolutely anything, and I love that. I also love the competitiveness of the game. I get so excited every time I touch the ball. I'm ready to compete."
Sinnaeve will continue to compete at the Division I level at Bradley, where he diligently maintained contact with the coaches during COVID shutdowns and blackouts.
"I just kept sending videos and kept in contact with them and they were really nice and very straight with me," Sinnaeve said. "I liked that."
Sinnaeve also liked the fact Bradley features his area of interest: nursing. He got interested in the medial field as he dealt with the ups and downs of his injury.
"I'm a personable guy and I'm very caring for others and plus, I like science," Sinnaeve said. "Science is fun for me and it's not a chore to learn. I can just listen and I learn a lot.
"When I was going through my knee injury, I thought nursing was something I could do."
Sinnaeve also wonders what else he could do.
With this being an Olympic year, Sinnaeve will be paying greater attention to international soccer. Now an All-American, he's wondering if he could end up at that level.
"We'll have to take it day-by-day and see what happens," Sinnaeve said. "But I have thought about things like that. I always love watching soccer at that level. My eye is always drawn to my position and I'm always watching how they play and how they move. I learn a lot from that."