Big hits, kicks and jumps
Nick Sikora has had a busy but productive summer so far and the recently graduated Highland senior is very much looking forward to the next chapter in his soccer career.
Sikora, who led the Bulldogs in scoring last season, will take his soccer skills to Missouri S&T University in Rolla, Missouri, this fall.
Before that time arrives, the HHS soccer product has been enjoying his summer and staying busy improving his craft on and getting a jumpstart on his classes at Missouri S&T.
“It’s been a good and busy summer,” Sikora said. “I’m taking chemistry over at SWIC (Southwestern Illinois College), and I’m trying to get ahead (on my fall classes) and have been practicing.”
Sikora also was busy playing soccer earlier in the summer with the Scott Gallagher U19 EC and L club in St. Louis.
The summer season — which ended Sunday — went well for Sikora as Gallagher EC and L club finished 13-3-1. The team went 2-1 in the pool play portion of the national tournament before getting eliminated.
“We got unlucky in our last game at nationals,” Sikora said. “One of our teammates got a red card and that was not good for us.”
Since the summer season ended, Sykora has been working out lifting at Phoenix Fitness Center in Highland five times a week.
“And I’m beginning to do some running and conditioning around Highland,” Sikora said.
As a senior Sikora was the Bulldogs go-to player on offense, scoring a team-high nine goals — including two game-winners — and dishing out 11 assists.
“Nick is strong, physical, hard-nosed on the ball, but, at the same time, he’s slick and smooth and sees the field, has great vision and has a high soccer IQ,” Highland coach Josh Oswald said.
According to Sikora, Missouri S&T coach Robert Cummings is planning to use him on defense — primarily in the center back spot.
“I’m a center back, which is right in the middle of the defensive line … I’m a vocal player, so they are going to want me to try to lead as much as a freshman can and just try hold it down on the back end and make sure we can stop goals,” Sikora said.
Sikora has bright future at Missouri S&T
Sikora, who will major in civil engineering at Missouri S&T, believes his skill set will transfer well into Division-II soccer.
“I have had a lot of experience having played in the U.S. (soccer) Developmental Academy, so I have played with the best players in the nation. So I think I will be able to compete with the boys and get the job done,” Sokia said. “Hopefully, I’ll get a starting spot.”
Oswald believes Sikora will do well his freshman season at Rolla and that Missouri S&T is a very good fit for him academically and athletically.
“He’s strong on the ball, physical, a high soccer IQ and that stuff is all going to transfer over for him for sure,” Oswald said. “Skill-set wise, IQ wise, he’ll be ready to go from day one. Both his sisters went there and played and now it’s his turn and he’s strong academically and going to be an engineer, and he’s got a bright future.”